2013 R&D 100 Winner


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One of the most overlooked threats to human health is poor indoor air quality. Various air pollutants exist indoors, including biological pollutants, secondhand smoke, combustion pollutants and other chemicals, and can pool in spaces with inadequate ventilation. Determining the source of pollution is often the first step in improving air quality. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s DNATrax, a safe simulant material made with non-biological DNA, can track and quantify indoor airflow. DNATrax particles are produced by combining unique DNA barcodes and food additives in an aqueous solution, forming the mixture into droplets, and drying it. The resulting simulant material has a spherical morphology and is ~1 to 10 µm in aerodynamic size; the size of particle can be adjusted depending on the application. The concentration of DNA is set to ensure that one or two copies are present in each particle. Once produced, the microparticle simulates the aerosols comprising the air around us.

Clean air technology

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Development Team

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's DNA TRAX development team (l-r): Ronald Leif, Ruth Udey, Sally Hall, Elizabeth Wheeler, George Farquar, Brian Baker.


The DNA TRAX Development Team from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
George Farquar, Principal Developer
Brian Baker
Sally Hall
Christine Hara
Ronald Leif
Maxim Shusteff
Cindy Thomas
Ruth Udey
Beth Vitalis
Elizabeth Wheeler