NovionX

RF Energy for safety and food control

18. April 2018, 9:47 Uhr | Heinz Arnold
Teaser RF-Energy.jpg
Ralf Dumler, NovionX (right, in conversation with Dr. Stephan Holtrup from PinkRF): "The pure analysis time is reduced from 90 to 15 minutes and the system is portable, i.e. not tied to a laboratory, so that users do not have to wait days for the analysis".
© NovionX

With RF Energy NovionX wants to make mass spectrometric analysis transportable. This opens new possibilities in safety and food monitoring.

To extract the ions from the sample for analysis, the Solid State RF Energy can be used. As Ralf Dumler, CEO of NovionX, explains, the process offers so many advantages over the previous possibilities that he has founded his own company, NovionX, with this idea. According to him, the most important advantages are: The frequency of the microwaves can be adjusted, mismatch can be reduced automatically, the reflected power is below 1 percent, and the plasma achieves very good stability.

Why is this important? Let’s have a look at mass spectrometric analysis as it has been done so far: The samples first had to be elaborately prepared and the ions released chemically with the help of solvents - which can be very expensive. This takes at least 90 minutes in the laboratory, because the necessary equipment is not easy to transport.

NovionX now dissolves the ions directly from the sample using a plasma. The plasma is generated by transistors which keep it stable via feedback loops. The sample does not have to be prepared, solvents are not required. The ions that the plasma releases directly from the sample migrate directly into the mass spectrometer, where they are analyzed immediately. The whole thing works very quickly: The result is available within 15 minutes.

And best of all: the entire analysis equipment is transportable, so it can be used on site. According to Ralf Dumler, this will revolutionize analysis in many industries. This includes, for example, agriculture. Until now, farmers had to send samples to the laboratory to have them analysed for herbicides or pesticides. Instead of waiting days for the result, the new plasma mass spectrometers allow measurements to be taken very quickly on site. Another application: explosives can be quickly detected and determined on site.

The analysis devices can be used where they are needed: at airports, railway stations and everywhere where current hazard situations arise. Another major field of application is environmental protection, because here, too, many substances have to be detected quickly and at best on site and their concentration determined, while another is the examination of foodstuffs: Are they contaminated with toxic substances? Can they be eaten carelessly? And Dumler already sees completely new possibilities for the future: The typing of cells, the typing of microorganisms, the development of drugs.


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