Chemistry Professor Takes Home 2017 Edison Patent Award

By Chemical Processing Staff

Nov 17, 2017

Athula B. Attygalle, a research professor of chemistry in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry and Biological Science at Stevens Institute of Technology, is honored with a 2017 Edison Patent Award by the Research & Development Council of New Jersey for his patented work in mass spectrometric analysis utilizing helium-plasma and charge-exchange ionization techniques. Dr. Attygalle is reportedly an internationally recognized expert in mass spectrometry who emphasizes advancement in this field through the Attygalle Lab - Center for Mass Spectrometry at Stevens. 

During an award ceremony and reception November 2, the Council recognized Dr. Attygalle and co-inventor Dr. Zhihua Yang, a postdoctoral associate, in the instrumentation category for their new patented process “Analyte Ionization by Charge Exchange for Sample Analysis Under Ambient Conditions” (U.S. Patent 8,664,000). The process, known as Helium-Plasma Ionization (HePI), reduces the consumption of helium for plasma generation by 50-100 times without compromising the efficiency of ion generation. This method is more economical and environmentally friendly because it significantly reduces the consumption of the very limited resource of helium, according to Stevens. The HePI source can be miniaturized and has the potential of being incorporated into portable mass spectrometers. When installed in a mass spectrometer, it provides a very sensitive method of detecting specific compounds in samples without the need for extensive sample preparation.

Thirteen additional teams were also recognized for their innovative patent work spanning 13 R&D categories including: biomaterials, biomedical, energy, environmental, imaging systems, industrial process, information technology, instrumentation, materials, medical, pharmaceutical, technology transfer and telecommunications.

Dr. Attygalle’s research projects within the Center for Mass Spectrometry include Mass Spectrometric Fragmentation Mechanisms, Chemical Ecology of Arthropods, Biosynthesis, Natural Products and Drugs from Bugs.

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