Prototyping Program

The idea of this program is to facilitate the transfer of technology invented in academia to manufacturing concerns. Although many excellent ideas are demonstrated at the level of "proof of principle", resulting in publication of papers or even issuing of a patent, considerably more is required before such an idea can be successfully commercialized. This program is testing the hypothesis that the transfer process can be eased by the construction of a minimum number of prototype instruments. These prototype instruments may be best termed "late lab prototypes" or "early engineering prototypes". In 2006-2007, ten Mini 10 Mass Spectrometers were constructed and sold at cost (labor and materials) to beta users or provided as deliverables in funded research projects. In 2007-2008, eight DESI-MS translating stage sample mounts were constructed, with approximately half sold. The other four devices have found use in CAID and Cooks group laboratories. The funding of the program is also innovative; materials costs are recouped and used for the next round of prototype building.

Tech transfer flowchart

This year, beta prototypes of the Mini 11 are being constructed and built. Buyers have been found for the eight instruments that will be produced. This prototype, dubbed the Mini 11.5, features the vacuum system of the Mini 10 but the electronics of the Mini 11.

The team has two full time electrical engineers and five or six engineering students. Additionally, five graduate students in chemistry have been active in aspects of the chemical testing of the prototypes. The first prototype was delivered December 3, 2009, with three additional prototypes completed before year's end.

Mini 12

Mini 10s

  • Univ. Copenhagen (Lauritsen)
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (MacMillan/Bednar)
  • No. Carolina Stat Univ. (Muddiman, Genzer; ONR/DURIP)
  • UMASS-Amherst (Vachet, ONR/DURIP)
  • Purdue (Cooks, ONR/DURIP)
  • ETH-Zurich (Zenobi, Analytical Chemistry)
  • Exxon/Mobil (loan)
  • JPL (Kanik)
  • DHS (Battelle, indep. testing, 3)

Mini 11s

  • Two pharmaceutical firms
  • FDA
  • Purdue (Blatchley, Civil Engr.)
  • Univ. Giessen (Takats)
  • Illinois State Univ. (Mulligan)
  • Purdue (Cooks, 2)