The feasibility of producing a pocket sized air contaminant monitor based upon a miniature gas chromatograph and an integrated microcomputer is demonstrated and a practical design for the instrument is presented. The instrument is intended for use as a personal exposure monitor which can be unobtrusively carried by an industrial worker throughout the day. The instrument is fully self contained in an 8cm by 4cm by 15cm package weighing approximately .6kg. The proposed instrument would be capable of sampling the atmosphere automatically once a minute for 8 hours, measuring the concentrations of up 10 different vapors simultaneously to within 10% accuracy, calculating and storing the time weighted averages and peak concentrations for each of the gases, measuring concentrations at the 10ppm level, displaying any of the stored concentrations upon demand, and sounding an alarm when any concentration exceeds predetermined value. Development of a working prototype of the gas analyzer will require the utilization of silicon (7440213) micromachining technology, custom integrated circuits, and hybrid packaging techniques. It is estimated that about 6 man years of effort will be required to realize the first handheld prototype of the instrument. The technical evaluation of the system components, future developments, and projected applications are included.
Division of Physical Sciences and Engineering, NIOSH, Cincinnati, Ohio