Bahram Shafai


In today's world, there is a need for a versatile system that can analyze potentially dangerous gaseous compounds. Our design project is a novel approach to solving this issue. We set out to create a low-power, portable system that would implement a solid state design and RF technology. By using electronics typically found in cell phones, we ensured that our design would require less than 10 watts of power, thus fulfilling the low power requirement. These cell phone components also allow our design to be portable, as the complete system weighs only 5 pounds. The implementation of a solid state design makes our design rugged and durable, and the use of an RF-induced plasma is not only cutting-edge technology, but an innovative application of it as well.

Our system's versatility is achieved not only with novel hardware but through robust software as well. All data acquisition and processing is done in real time and provides accurate, repeatable results. To analyze different gases no hardware reconfiguration is necessary, and we therefore achieve maximum scalability through software capabilities. Our HMI (human machine interface) acts as a single point of control for the entire system, where a user can power up the system and view the analysis results all from one screen. Indeed, every aspect of our system has been designed with functionality in mind.

With a low-power portable design such as ours, many applications of the portable gas analyzer are possible. Given a sample of gas, one could use the analyzer to determine the sample's toxicity level and if it is hazardous or not. This would be invaluable for soldiers who could utilize the portability of the project and bring the analyzer out in the field with them. With its real time data acquisition and processing, a soldier could also perform instant analysis on air conditions rather than having to wait for results from a lab. In the future, as Hydrogen fuel cell technology becomes more readily available, emergency medical teams could use the system to analyze the air's H&sub2; content by a crash scene to ensure their own safety, as well as the safety of others involved. Overall, our project's novel approach to gas analysis, its low-power and portable design, and its real time analysis capabilities makes it suitable for any situation where gas analysis is necessary.


Capstone group presentation advised by Pr. Bahram Shafai

Date Accepted

May 2007

Subject Categories



human machine interface (HMI), gas analysis



Publication Date


Rights Holder

Neil Gupta, et al.

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