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Main scientific results

A preconcentrator has been developed and coupled to the existing BTEX analyser improving its sensitivity by one order of magnitude. Our results demonstrates clearly the capacity of the first preconcentrator prototype to adsorb and to desorb the targeted organic species, i.e. BTEX. The adsorption and desorption parameters such as sampling volume, sampling flow rate and desorption temperature have been optimized for several adsorbents. Among these adsorbents, one of them permits to reduce the desorption temperature down to 150°C, limiting the energy consumption of the preconcentrator. Our results show that the peak areas increase linearly with the gaseous BTEX concentrations in the range 2-100 ppb for the chosen optimized conditions. The detection limits were found to be 0.2 ppb for benzene and toluene.

The only drawback of the first prototype is related to its weight imposing the need of a high power to reach a desorption temperature in the range 150-200 °C and as a result a high energy consumption. This drawback has been addressed and solved in a second MEMS-type prototype thus having a total mass reduced to a few grams and easily heatable. In the future, all the parameters related to the adsorption/desorption cycle, such as the adsorption and desorption temperatures and gas flow rates, should be better defined for the case of the miniaturized preconcentrator.

The integration of this final preconcentrator into the BTEX analyser is in progress.