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.

*Commercially available bioaerosol samplers on the market.

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 concentration s of contaminants for reliable detection; power requirements make their use impossible or impractical in many environments or 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 as small as 5 μL.  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 substantially improves the detection limit and minimizes the necessary sampling time.

Market Applications:

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


  • Sample collection rates higher than 1x106 /min – exceeds other collection technologies – and will allow detection of very low particle concentrations
  • High collection efficiency
  • Entire sample is concentrated in a single droplet leading to faster and more sensitive detection; could be combined with laboratory-on-a-chip
  • Faster detection of airborne biological agents for biowarfare and security applications
  • Two samples collected simultaneously – analysis by multiple techniques
  • Low power consumption, the entire system is battery operated

Intellectual Property & Development Status:

Prototype Available for Inspection.  Issued patent, US 8,136,235 and related intellectual property available for licensing and/or research collaboration.

Rutgers ID: 2005-088
Physical Sciences
Medical Devices
Kholud Dardir
Gediminas Mainelis