Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Infared Spectroscopic Air Quality Systems(ISAQS)(ST7522-1)

International Electronic Machines, Inc.


Commonly available volatile organic compound (VOC) measuring devices are based on either photoionization or semiconductor technologies. Each of these approaches has limitations. Photoionization-based devices are not able to recognize an individual VOC if it is mixed with other compounds. Semiconductor-based devices can experience measurement drift when humidity and temperature change, in addition to suffering from the same limitation as photoionization devices. International Electronic Machines, Inc. believes that a reliable VOC measurement system could be developed, that addresses these limitations, by using infrared (IR) spectroscopy. Such a product could be developed as either a portable device for investigating indoor air quality problems in buildings or a permanent sensor that is integrated into the controls of an industrial building's ventilation system.

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Project Description

The Contractor will: develop the specifications for the Infrared Spectroscopic Air Quality System (ISAQS), identify or design the components necessary for ISAQS, construct and calibrate a beta-version ISAQS, test the beta-version ISAQS under laboratory conditions, demonstrate the beta-version ISAQS in an industrial building, and identify other practical applications for an ISAQS with extended capabilities.


ISAQS could reduce the energy requirements for heating and cooling a building by modulating the amount of ventilation air supplied in response to the presence and concentrations of VOCs. ISAQS would improve the IAQ of buildings. New jobs in New York State will be created if ISAQS is manufactured.

Project Results

IEM determined that the original design concept was sound, with appropriate modifications, and achievable within cost specifications if IEM designed and built components rather than relying on off-the-shelf suppliers. IEM also examined other technologies and uncovered a second, equally viable method for achieving the same goals: the use of sensors based on micro-electro mechanical systems (MEMS). IEM plans to continue developing both technologies at least through a preliminary design phase, to see if a clearly preferable approach will become clear before having to commit to a single method.


International Electronic Machines, Inc.
850 River St
Troy, NY 12180

Principle Investigator

Zack Mian

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Product Development

Technologies Types:

Building Systems
Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning
Cooling & Ventilation

NYSERDA Contact Information

Robert Carver


R&D - Buildings Research

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST7522-1

Last Updated: 10/27/2010