In this interview Guillermo Vidal de Miguel from Fossil Ion Technology talks to AZoM about developing the Ion Nose: Super SESI for Airborne Molecules and Metabolites analysis.
Guillermo Vidal de Miguel explains how they developed the Super SESI, a product first of its kind to help analyse chemical composition. Guillermo Vidal de Miguel explains the products involved, the advantages and benefits it will hold for future developments in mass spectrometry and chemical analysis.
Please can you tell us about the work you do at Fossil Ion Tech?
Fossil Ion Tech is a small company which was founded in 2015 and launched in March 2016 with the goal of developing and commercializing a new generation of analytical instruments.
The Ion Nose: Super SESI is our first product and we released the first prototype in September 2016 and in January 2017 we opened our first laboratory.
We are developing an Ion Source that is coupled with Mass Spectrometers. This Ion source will be designed specifically for the analysis of gas samples and vapors.
Can you give our readers a brief overview of the Ion Nose: Super SESI?
The Ion Nose: Super SESI analyses airborne molecules and metabolites which are released naturally. The main application of the Super SESI is for the chemical analysis of breath. For us breath is a very interesting sample as it is non-invasive.
Human beings provide breath samples to the atmosphere every 20 – 30 seconds, when a breath is exhaled you have oxygen, nitrogen, water CO2, as well as other components known as metabolites. The Super SESI will allow researchers to differentiate between these components.
The problem we face with breath analysis is that very few biomarkers have been discovered. By developing the Ion Nose: Super SESI we are hoping that we will uncover an interesting biomarker which could eventually lead to the expansion of this technology.
Excellent sensitivity coupled with high resolution mass spectrometry enables analysis of breath with unprecedented levels of sensitivity and selectivity. We are hoping that the main application for the Ion Nose: Super SESI will be for research.
Was there a gap in the market for Ion Nose: Super SESI? How does it compare to other products? What makes the Ion Nose Super SEI Unique?
The issue we face is that if you want to analyse the chemical composition you need to go to a specialized analytical chemistry laboratory. The second problem we face is that the specialized laboratory may not have the required equipment to detect what is needed.
There are very few biomarkers for breath analysis on the market. The technology today is very standard as it has not reached the level of maturity. We are the first to develop this product.
One of the advantages of the Ion Source: Super SESI is it is non-invasive. You ionize a liquid and then you analyse the composition of these ions with a mass spectrometer. We then take a mass spectrometer and we place the ion source with a different ion source that produces a gas, ionizes it, and passes the ions to the mass spectrometer
Which industries will primarily benefit from the Super SESI?
There are several industries that we aim to target with the Ion Nose: Super SESI. The first is the research industry followed by the medical sector. The next step is to turn the Super SESI into a medical device.
Another industry that would benefit from the Super SESI is the food and beverage industry. Some of our customers are using the Super SESI for monitoring of fermentation processes. With the Super SESI you can analyse the vapor being emitted in real time.
What are the primary applications of the Super SESI?
The first application is to analyse the composition of breath.
There are two parts to this application, identifying biomarkers, which as we know very few have been identified and the other is the monitoring of pharmaceuticals.
What role did the OMEGA CN7500 series temperature and process PIC controller play in the development of the Ion Nose: Super SESI? Why was it important to include this piece of equipment?
The Omega CN7500 series temperature and process PIC Controller can handle the most demanding temperature and process applications.
Controlling the temperature is an essential component for us and for the Super SESI. It is essential that we have an accurate temperature control when analysing the molecules of interest. These molecules have a very low vapor pressure and they tend not to go into the gas phase but instead are absorbed in the inner walls of our system. For the molecules to be released into the gas phase we need to heat them up very carefully, if we heat them too high, we could burn them.
Temperature is very important. It directly relates to the intensity of our system. We need to control the temperature. This is where Omega comes into place as it is very important to have accurate and reliable temperature control.
What does the Ion Nose: Super SESI mean for the future?
Breath Analysis has been around for years but we want to make it easy and reliable. We want to provide a tool, in this case the Ion Source: Super SESI that provides meaningful results for researchers.
We would also like to turn the Super SESI into a diagnostic tool for doctors. Instead of providing a blood sample, the patient would provide a breath sample via the Super SESI and the doctor can provide a diagnosis there and then.
We would also like to develop the product further into a smaller and cheaper version. Before we can do this, we need to ensure the information we are providing is of a high quality, accurate and can provide a useful conclusion.
Where can our readers go to find out more?
To learn more about Fossil Ion Tech and the Ion Nose: Super SESI you can visit our website www.fossiliontech.com
About Guillermo Vidal de Miguel
Guillermo Vidal de Miguel studied for his PHD in the United States. With a background as an aerospace engineer he originally began working on electrosprays and propulsion systems for satellites.
During this work, he realised that these systems could also be used for chemical analysis. Guillermo gradually move towards the biomarker and biotechnology arena.
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