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LLNL provides solutions to our nation's most important national security challenges through innovative science, engineering and technology. LLNL innovators have developed a new system for separating components from a fluid. Using a functionally graded material, the system separates a chemical mixture into multiple streams enriched in an individual component or components. LLNL is interested in partnering with companies to further develop the system for commercial applications.


Dubbed the "LLNL Chemical Prism", the LLNL system has use wherever there is a need to separate components of a fluid. A few examples include:

  • Chemical detection for known and previously unknown chemicals or substances
  • Separation of biomolecules from a cellular extract
  • Fractionation of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons
  • Forensic analysis of chemical specimens
  • Sample preparation prior to detection
  • Environmental monitoring for or clean-up hazardous waste streams or illicit materials
  • Purification of water, ultrapure solvents, high-value fine chemicals, industrial products and pharmaceuticals
  • High throughput screening of novel compounds for biological activity, novel pharmaceuticals, and drug discovery
  • Compact, portable detection systems.

Advantages of this separation system over chromatography include 1) it could be a continuous process, and 2) it could be run at steady-state. A continuous stream of the chemical mixture can be fed to the device and continuously separated into its constituents. The system could also be set up with devices arrayed in parallel to increase throughput and/or accommodate inlet streams from multiple process or with devices arrayed in series to increase the quality of separation or for separation of complex mixtures.

Development Status

LLNL is filing for intellectual property protection on this technology.

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