Humidity Control with Unprecedented Precision
Tech ID: 22597 / UC Case 2012-382-0
Two of the most commonly used humidity control methods employed today use either the air/water vapor flow method, or saturated salt method. With the water vapor flow method, the relative humidity (RH) accuracy is usually +/-1% in a humidity range from 0% to 95%. With the saturated salt method, one can obtain a discrete number of humidities depending on the choice of salt. A limitation with these two methods is the requirement of a uniform temperature environment. Even small fluctuations in temperature or an offset in temperature gradient would result in +/- 1-2% error in relative humidity.
Overcoming the present-day limitations on attaining high-precision humidity control, especially for high humidity, promises to open up a new window to imaging research, enabling new experiments which were previously impossible (e.g. X-ray scattering studies of soft materials, bio-mimetic systems and biological systems).
Condensed matter physicists at the University of California, San Diego have developed a method for achieving unprecedented precision and continuous control of the relative humidity environment of a sample chamber suitable for scientific studies (e.g. x-ray diffraction, optical spectroscopy, imaging the structure and dynamics of condensed matter). Specifically, this invention teaches how to build a very precise relative humidity sample chamber for x-ray diffraction, optical spectroscopy, or related imaging studies. The method is especially useful in high humidity (e.g. between 95% to 100% RH), for which existing methods do not work satisfactorily. Accuracy of control is 10-100X better than current methodology. No existing RH method can achieve the same.
- Accurate RH control and storage chamber for samples requiring a high degree of stability and accuracy (e.g. biology, biomedical, bioengineering, and materials science).
- High resolution control, which yields at least two orders of magnitude improvement in accuracy and decrease in error comparing to existing RH control methods.
- Continuous humidity control ensures stability over the entire RH range. At high humidities (≥ 95%), this technology provides continuous control with super fine resolution of better than 0.01%.
- High stability, low maintenance and low cost.
State Of DevelopmentWorking prototype has been developed and used in scientific research on the structure and dynamics of lipid membranes. Experimental data demonstrates that this invention is fully functional as described.
Intellectual Property InfoPatents pending. Detailed information is available under a secrecy agreement.