Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Progressive Cellular Architecture for Microfabricated Gas Chromatograph

Technology #7138

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Yogesh B. Gianchandani
Managed By
Joohee Kim
Licensing Specialist, Physical Sciences & Engineering 734-764-8202
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending

Measurement of volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds using gas chromatography (GC) has important applications for a large variety of field- and clinically-related analyses. These include applications in the pharmaceutical industry for drug testing, as well as chemical and petrochemical industries for process monitoring. While GC allows for the identification of molecular species and their concentrations present in gas and liquid samples, conventional GC design architecture results in large energy consumption for each measurement cycle. More progressive GC designs now include the use of microscale GC components, systems, and subsystems to lower the power requirement, reduce system size, and lower production cost. However, there are still limitations in the volatility range for compounds that can be separated, as well as the separation resolution and energy-efficiency of available chromatography systems.

Progressive Cellular Architecture for Microfabricated Gas Chromatograph

Arrays of micro-fabricated elements can be arranged to create a progressive cellular architecture for vapor collection and chromatographic separation that is designed for analysis of a broad compound volatility range in an energy-efficient manner. The incorporation of a cellular architecture allows for the cells to cover a specific volatility range, while avoiding the separation of the same mixture in every column and requiring minimal to no column heating. Additional design options for the GC system include 1.) incorporation of gas detectors for detection of vapor overloading and increase in the vapor concentration range, and 2.) increased separation capability in cells using both non-polar and polar separation columns. Improved power efficiency is further accomplished through the use of micro-machined thin-film structures to reduce thermal mass.


  • Analysis of volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds
  • Wide range of industries with potential applications: pharmaceutical, petrochemical, agricultural


  • Wide volatility range analysis
  • Improved separation resolution
  • Reduced power consumption
  • Features for maintenance of system performance
  • Reduced separation column size (i.e. 1m length)
  • Scalability