Company co-founded with Masoud Agah, Ph.D., Chief Technology Officer and developer of MEMS-based, miniature gas chromatography system.
FAYETTEVILLE, AR – VIC Technology Venture Development, LLC has announced that it has formed Zebra Analytix, Inc. The company was established to develop and commercialize miniature gas chromatography (GC) systems based on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology exclusively licensed from Virginia Tech University. The patents-pending technology offers microfabricated chips capable of multi-channel separations. Advantages include vastly decreased instrument size, versatility, portability, and speed of results.
Company co-founder Masoud Agah, Ph.D., has been named Chief Technology Officer of Zebra Analytix. Dr. Agah is the Virginia Microelectronics Consortium (VMEC) Professor of Engineering in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech. Upon joining Virginia Tech in 2005, he established its Microelectromechanical Systems Laboratory, the VT MEMS Lab, and has focused his research on environmental and biomedical applications of MEMS, receiving the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Award in 2008 to support his research on micro gas chromatography. Dr. Agah has received numerous other awards and recognition for his research throughout his career, and is a core member of the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences.
Gas chromatography is a technique used worldwide in analytical chemistry to separate and analyze volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are gases emitted from certain solids and liquids. GC is able to split chemical mixtures into their components and allows scientists to detect and identify VOCs in many substances including air, water, plant and animal tissues, and soil. GC is used in a wide range of applications in the pharmaceutical industry, environmental monitoring, clinical chemistry, food processing, and petroleum distillation, among others. Many GC systems currently in use commercially are large, bulky, stationary, costly machines requiring that samples to be tested be brought to the machine.
The miniature gas chromatography platform being developed by Zebra Analytix, can be operated by non-experts to analyze volatile compounds within seconds. This Mini-GC system, with its potential applications for wearable and portable detection devices, has drawn attention from the fields of health care, environmental monitoring, industrial, petrochemical and automotive applications, building automation, and homeland security, especially driven by global government regulations for safety.
“Gas chromatography is a multi-billion dollar global market with applications across numerous industries. Dr. Agah’s research at Virginia Tech leads the way in realizing a true micro GC system that offers near real-time results in a high performance yet affordable instrument,” said Calvin Goforth, interim CEO of Zebra Analytix. “Zebra Analytix will have strong opportunities in both existing GC market segments and new high-impact applications such as point-of-care cancer screening through detection of volatile organic compounds in breath.”
“I am excited about the formation of Zebra Analytix to take our unique ideas and technologies from the lab to the market. Our MicroGC technology at Virginia Tech MEMS Lab has gone well beyond just miniaturizing GC,” said Masoud Agah, Zebra Analytix’ Chief Technology Officer. “Zebra Analytix puts microGC in the palm of one’s hands with a vast range of applications in industry and academia. These microsystems, whether used as standalone sensors or as part of Internet of Things (IoT), will enable continuous analysis of volatile organic compounds and thereby provide unprecedented data about our health, food, space, environment, and working places.”
Zebra Analytix, Inc. was established in 2017 to develop and commercialize miniature GC systems based on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) based separation columns with built-in sensors and heating elements. The company’s patents pending technology offers advantages in instrument size, performance, versatility, and speed of results. The technology also offers new capabilities such as multi-channel partial separations on a single MEMS chip for use as an “electronic nose”. Zebra Analytix’ micro GC technology opens up new market opportunities not presently served by other GC providers including real-time process control applications that take advantage of the exceptional speed of results.