Novel Airborne Contaminant Collector: Very High Concentration Rate and Low Power Consumption

Concentration rate: a ratio of particle concentration in collection liquid versus the airborne particle concentration per time unit.

Invention Summary:

Airborne contaminant exposure assessment is a vital component of the protection of civil, governmental and military establishments.  Safety and security applications require the development of advanced devices capable of collecting and detecting biological and non-biological agents at low levels in difficult circumstances. Today’s devices are ill suited to the current challenges because they require high concentrations of contaminants for reliable detection; power requirements make their use impossible severely limit sampling time.

Researchers at Rutgers have developed a novel airborne contaminant sampler with high sensitivity to biological and non-biological substances. The device includes an electrostatic precipitator with a superhydrophobic surface (EPSS), where a combination of the electrostatic collection mechanism and superhydrophobic surface allows for efficient airborne particle collection, removal, and concentration in liquid droplets. The liquid containing the contaminant is then analyzed to identify the type and concentration of contaminant. Ability to concentrate the entire sample into such a small amount of liquid (as small as 5 μL) substantially improves the detection limit.


  • Detection of very low particle concentrations
  • Low power consumption, the entire system is battery operated
  • High collection efficiency due to high concentration rate (higher than 1x106 /min)
  • Entire sample is concentrated in a single droplet leading to faster and more sensitive detection
  • Two samples collected simultaneously

Market Applications:

Fast detection of airborne biological and non-biological contaminants even at low particle concentrations in various environments.

Intellectual Property & Development Status:

Prototype available for inspection. Issued patent in US and related IP available for licensing and/or research collaboration.

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Shu Wang
Licensing Manager
Rutgers University
Sensors & Probes