PFAS detection with advanced solid-state nanopore chips

Z. Xia
Goeppert LLC,
United States

Keywords: PFAS, solid-state nanopore, silane coating


Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl compounds (PFASs) are characterized by one or more perfluorinated carbon atoms. The widespread use of PFASs since the 1950’s for consumer and industrial needs has led to detection of these substances in a variety of environments, in wildlife, and in humans. Effects of PFASs exposure include hepatotoxicity, nephrotoxicity, thyroid damage, fetal and developmental toxicity, and endocrine disruption. Due to ecological and human health concerns, EPA established a health advisory level of 70 ppt combined for two of the most common PFASs, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), and a level of 300-7000 ppt combined for C4-C7 PFAS. Additionally, 29 PFAS have been added to the EPA’s Fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule. The largest difficulty in PFAS regulation stems from the vast number of chemical structures in this class, currently listed as more than 4,600 types. Regulations for total PFASs will require better methods for detection and quantification. Unmet PFAS Detection Need: The current PFAS testing which mostly relies on LC-MS/MS has limited sample throughput and less favorable concentration sensitivity and generally high operational costs. Several other detection techniques are emerging but are not yet able to reliably determine total PFASs in samples. Our Innovation: The project explores as-yet uncharted territory in using the solid-state nanopore chips for rapid, reliable, portable, and low-cost total PFAS detection. It integrates advanced nanofabrication, high-throughput data collection and reliable data analysis to improve the overall PFAS detection capabilities. Goeppert’s solid-state nanopore chip provides an innovative solution to monitor for a wide-variety of PFASs and can be envisioned as a frontline of total PFAS detection. Our technology will also make monitoring of total PFASs in home well systems affordable and provide public and private environmental protection organizations a portable sensor for identifying PFAS contamination in the environment, thus helping to defend the health of individuals and our waterways. The successful PFAS detection will also allow authorities (USEPA) to have an approach for determining protective levels for aquatic life and humans.