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Review and summary of a silicon micromachined gas chromatography system

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2 Author(s)
Edward S. Kolesar ; Department of Engineering, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX 76129 USA ; Rocky R. Reston

A miniature gas chromatography (GC) system has been designed and fabricated using silicon micromachining and integrated circuit (IC) processing techniques. The silicon micromachined gas chromatography system (SMGCS) is composed of a miniature sample injector that incorporates a 10 μl sample loop; a 0.9-m long, rectangular-shaped (300 μm width and 10 μm height) capillary column coated with a 0.2-μm thick copper phthalocyanine (CuPc) stationary-phase; and a dual-detector scheme based upon a CuPc-coated chemiresistor and a commercially available, 125-μm diameter thermal conductivity detector (TCD) bead. Silicon micromachining was employed to fabricate the interface between the sample injector and the GC column, the column itself, and the dual-detector cavity. A novel IC thin-film processing technique was developed to sublime the CuPc stationary-phase coating on the column walls that were micromachined in the host silicon wafer substrate and Pyrex cover plate, which were then electrostatically bonded together. The SMGCS can separate binary gas mixtures composed of parts-per-million (ppm) concentrations of ammonia (NH3) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) when isothermally operated (55–80 °C). With a helium carrier gas and nitrogen diluent, a 10 μl sample volume containing ammonia and nitrogen dioxide injected at 40 psi (2.8 × 105 Pa) can be separated in less than 30 min.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Components, Packaging, and Manufacturing Technology: Part B  (Volume:21 ,  Issue: 4 )