Microelectro Mechanical Systems and MEMS Sensors

NevadaNano has spent a decade integrating multiple, complementary chemical sensors on a single silicon chip. We call it the Molecular Property Spectrometer™ (MPS™). The MPS Gas Sensor works together to measure a variety of thermodynamic and electrostatic molecular properties of sampled vapors, liquids, and particles. In less than a second, the chip creates a large, rich dataset of chemical information. Then, Custom MPS software identifies the types of molecules present in an unknown sample.

The chip is an example of a microelectro mechanical systems (MEMS) because it exploits the many inherent advantages of MEMS. With its robust industrial design, the MPS doesn’t drift, decay, or poison and requires no maintenance over its lifetime. And with its data-rich reporting capabilities, the MPS will instantly let you know if a fault exists and why.

Additionally, in a span of milliseconds, the sensors can heat to hundreds of degrees Celsius, make a variety of high-precision thermal measurements, then cool back to room temperature. Various components of the system can detect picogram-scale masses and measure temperature with 0.01-degree resolution. It can operate in temperatures from -40°C to 75°C and all non-condensing humidity levels.


These capabilities make the MPS a highly flexible sensor solution, attractive for a wide range of applications.


The chip incorporates a patented array of micro-cantilevers with integrated piezoelectric sensing elements that provide electrical actuation and sensing of resonance frequency. Monitoring resonance is a highly sensitive way to measure very small masses of adsorbed analyte. An array of sensors can be electrically monitored in a low-cost, robust fashion because of the unique piezoelectric configuration the MPS allows. Whereas, the more common alternative of using an optical readout is more expensive but less robust.

All MPS sensors have built-in resistive heaters so an assortment of thermal analyses (e.g. Differential Scanning Calorimetry) can be conducted. Also, this allows for the cleaning of each sensor after processing a sample. When necessary, these resistors also enable temperature and flow compensation in order to minimize sensor noise and drift and further enhance sensitivity.

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Security & Public Safety

Airborne Plume Detection

Industrial accidents, wildfires, and terrorist attacks can all take the form of hazardous airborne plumes. Because of these plumes, this can jeopardize the health of people caught in their path. Early detection and real-time monitoring of the location and intensity of such plumes is possible due to small, low-cost chemical sensors and Nano gas technologies. Such sensors often deploy in difficult locations to reach, and so must be able to operate for long periods without calibration or maintenance.

Nano Gas Technologies

NevadaNano’s Molecular Property Spectrometer (MPS)—a robust, low-cost, silicon-chip-based sensor platform—is well-suited for ubiquitous deployment across large areas, such as cities or large facilities. Such deployments can be fixed or mobile. In recent work for the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force, NevadaNano is one of the IoT infrastructure companies that are collaborating with robot experts at the University of Utah to demonstrate the use of the MPS aboard quadcopters. These Nano gas technologies use systems that autonomously avoid obstacles while conducting real-time chemical mapping of airborne chemical plumes. System data will wirelessly relay information to a central command post to provide real-time, actionable intelligence.

Benefits of MPS

A deployed matrix of MPS sensor modules is a smart way to track a broad spectrum of hazardous chemicals using Nano gas technologies—enabling myriad applications in military reconnaissance, surveillance, law enforcement, hazardous waste inspection/removal, search and rescue operations, and remote sensing and mapping.


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NevadaNano is the developer of the Molecular Property Spectrometer gas-sensing products that use Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) structures to detect, identify, and quantify chemicals in the air.


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