Functional polymer material labelling with isotopes

Functional polymer material labelling with isotopes

In some environments, the presence of contamination can be critical. For example, in space missions, it is mandatory to identify the source of the contamination, both for the integrity of the scientific equipment aboard a spacecraft and to guarantee the accuracy of measurements when extracting information from outer planets or satellites. Identifying the sources of this contamination is an unsolved problem for these sectors since it is not possible to trace back the source of this contamination.

Using isotope labelling for functional polymer materials could be a way to point out which element is the one affecting the environment. This invention aims to provide a method that allows the materials to be unequivocally identifiable and the tracing of any potential diffusion of the material in its environment, making it easier to identify outgassing/offgassing sources in areas such as cleanrooms. Using selected stable isotopes does not change the electronic chemistry of the compounds, making the marked material just as it was before the marking process, without the need of introducing specific additives for the purpose of detection.

Functional polymer material

The invention considers replacing normal and common atomic elements with their isotopic varieties by using systematic labelling in the desired materials to identify possible contamination sources. The replaced isotopes can be pinpointed with common analytical techniques used in scientific space missions, such as mass spectrometry, Raman spectroscopy, and outgassing.


  • Instantaneous and unequivocal identification of the source of contamination. No delays in projects.
  • Guarantee that your product/system/room does not contaminate.
  • Complete control of the contamination caused by an object on its surroundings.
  • Trustworthy results can be obtained from the measurement.
  • This method allows the differentiation between contamination from laboratory equipment and materials from outer space, a useful procedure for the aerospatial field.
  • Identification of wear of parts that are highly stressed mechanically (prosthetics, industrial maintenance, etc.).

The represented institution is looking for a collaboration that leads to commercial exploitation of the presented invention.

Institution: INTA (Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Aeroespacial) y AIMPLAS

TRL: 8

Protection status: Patent Application

Contact: Pablo Lago /