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Method and apparatus for optimized sampling of volatilizable target substances

United States Patent

June 18, 2002
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An apparatus for capturing, from gases such as soil gas, target analytes. Target analytes may include emanations from explosive materials or from residues of explosive materials. The apparatus employs principles of sorption common to solid phase microextraction, and is best used in conjunction with analysis means such as a gas chromatograph. To sorb target analytes, the apparatus functions using various sorptive structures to capture target analyte. Depending upon the embodiment, those structures may include 1) a conventional solid-phase microextraction (SPME) fiber, 2) a SPME fiber suspended in a capillary tube (with means provided for moving gases through the capillary tube so that the gases come into close proximity to the suspended fiber), and 3) a capillary tube including an interior surface on which sorptive material (similar to that on the surface of a SPME fiber) is supported (along with means for moving gases through the capillary tube so that the gases come into close proximity to the sorptive material). In one disclosed embodiment, at least one such sorptive structure is associated with an enclosure including an opening in communication with the surface of a soil region potentially contaminated with buried explosive material such as unexploded ordnance. Emanations from explosive materials can pass into and accumulate in the enclosure where they are sorbed by the sorptive structures. Also disclosed is the use of heating means such as microwave horns to drive target analytes into the soil gas from solid and liquid phase components of the soil.
Lindgren; Eric R. (Albuquerque, NM), Phelan; James M. (Bosque Farms, NM)
Sandia Corporation (Albuquerque, NM)
09/ 491,115
January 25, 2000
This invention was made with Government support under Contract DE-AC0494AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.