N5 Filo (First-In-Last-Out): An Ultra-Small, Low-Cost Hazardous Gas Detector Using Novel Chip-Scale Chemical Sensor Technology

Abhishek Motayed, Ratan Debnath, Baomei Wen, Audie Castillo, Ting Xie, and Gavin Liu, N5 Sensors Inc., Rockville, MD

“N5's team is honored to be selected for this award. This award solidifies our confidence in our technology and design, and will enable us to deliver the next generation of gas detectors to first-responders and armed forces. The recognition will allow us to engage various stakeholders, and bring together necessary resources to develop a remarkable product that can save lives and protect assets.”
N5 Sensors is a University of Maryland spinoff that is commercializing a disruptive chipscale gas sensor technology for industrial, environmental, and safety monitoring. The microsensor arrays on a single chip could replace multiple conventional macro-scale gas sensors used in portable multi-gas detectors. These new sensors are small, accurate, low power, and capable of detecting multiple gases at the same time. Using a patent-pending sensing architecture, N5 is working to develop low-cost, ultra-compact, multi-gas detectors that can be interfaced with mobile devices, allowing industrial workers, first-responders, and soldiers to assess the dangers of their surroundings rapidly and accurately in real time using their smartphones or other mobile devices.

Each chip contains arrays of microsensors fabricated on a semiconductor die the size of a postage stamp using techniques similar to those used for manufacturing electronic integrated circuits (ICs). The sensors have excellent sensitivity with no cross-sensitivity to other gases, with significant reduction in SWAP (Size-Weight-And-Power) and cost.

Each microsensor is designed to detect a specific target gas, using a patent-pending innovation in photo-enabled sensing that combines the selective adsorption properties of multicomponent photocatalytic nanoclusters with the sensitive transduction capability of microscale photoconductors of semiconducting gallium nitride (GaN). The sensitivity of the microsensors is tailored by the component of surface functionalization, which typically is either a metal-oxide, metal-oxide with metal, or a metal-oxide/metal-oxide combination.

These sensors work at room temperature using only a lowpower, low-cost commercial UV light-emitting diode (LED). The highly selective metal-oxide coating gives rise to the exceptional selectivity of these sensors.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/aerodef_winner

Honorable Mentions

Sensorless Angle of Attack Indicator

Ettore De Lellis, Aspen – CIRA, Albuquerque, NM

Loss Of Control In-flight (LOC-I) is the most frequent cause of general aviation accidents and incidents. This innovation provides an immediate, accurate, clear visual display of trends toward stall and stall margin without requiring further sensors, therefore enabling easy adoption by everyone. This indicator is based on a derived aircraft angle of attack (AoA) computation, and is shown to the pilot by means of a graphical interface integrated into the Primary Flight Display or the Multi-functional Flight Display. A colored vertical bar is used with two indicators that represent AoA with flaps up and flaps down configurations to show instantly the energy state of the airplane in either configuration, and to enable the pilot to see the available lift before changing the configuration.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/indicator

Proven System for Preventing Ground Collisions of Aircraft

Mark Skoog, NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA

This improved system for aircraft ground collision avoidance could prevent about 100 deaths each year in the US alone. This advanced warning system is packaged into an app for mobile devices to be used by pilots in any general aviation aircraft cockpit. The system prevents controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) that occurs when distracted or incapacitated pilots fly a functioning aircraft into the ground. As the airplane approaches the ground, the system uses digital terrain maps (DTMs) to determine how much time remains before impact, guiding the pilot through climbing maneuvers to the left, straight, or right to avoid a crash. In the app version, the technology’s data, programs, and functions reside on the mobile device, eliminating any connectivity requirements.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/DTM