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UCR Selected Winner in Innovative Products Competition Vehicle Program

UCR Selected Winner in Innovative Products Competition Vehicle Program

(December 15, 1999)

The University of California, Riverside today was named a winner in the 1999 Most Innovative New Products Awards competition by UC San Diego CONNECT for a high-tech instrument that can analyze in real time the characteristics of airborne particulates such as those that occur in smog.

Invented by UCR Associate Professor Kimberly Prather, the instrument was honored in the high-tech electronics category of the competition, which recognizes and stimulates entrepreneurship in the greater San Diego County region. The instrument is currently being marketed by TSI Incorporated of St. Paul, Minn. as the Model 3800 Aerosol Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer.

UCR was the only university among the finalists of the 1999 Most Innovative Products Awards, which were announced today (Wednesday, Dec. 15) at a luncheon in San Diego.

The transportable, laser-based instrument has a variety of applications, from determining the sources of particulate pollution to detecting biological warfare agents to analyzing sick buildings. It is the first instrument capable of measuring simultaneou sly both the chemical content and size of particulates.

Prior its development, researchers would collect particle samples from an airstream and return them to the laboratory for analysis using high-powered electron microscopes and X-ray detectors. But during that time lag, particles collected on filters can r eact with one another, distorting the results.

Aerosol particles occur in the environment in a variety of forms, including emissions from combustion of fossil fuels from automobiles and factories, dust, or ice particles in the stratosphere which are believed to play a role in formation of the ozone hole. A complete understanding of the size and chemical make-up of particles will offer potential insights into the formation of pollution and the mechanisms surrounding global warming. There are also uses in defense and industry.

The competition is sponsored annually by UCSD CONNECT, established in 1985 to link high-tech and biotech entrepreneurs with university researchers, venture capital, marketing opportunities, business support services and contacts in government. UCSD CONNECT is part of the Division of Extended Studies and Public Service at the University of California, San Diego.

The contest honors innovations in seven categories - high-tech electronics, entertainment and leisure, general business, Internet, life sciences, software and telecommunications. Among past winners and finalists have been Hewlett-Packard, Mycogen Corp. and QUALCOMM.

More information on the UCR invention can by found on the UCR web site,, or on the TSI Incorporated web site,

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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