The Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. in Bloomington has granted Indianapolis-based Prosolia Inc. the option to license technology that could be suitable for medical, forensic and scientific applications. A grant from the National Institutes of Health will allow Prosolia’s scientists, along with an IU team including Steven J. Ray, Jacob T. Shelley and Gary Hieftje, to develop the “ambient” mass spectrometry device into a market-ready product. “Ambient mass spectrometry is already demonstrating its promise in a host of important application areas,” Hieftje said. “Our new source, the flowing atmospheric-pressure afterglow, or ‘FAPA,’ is an extremely attractive addition to the existing arsenal in this field and has already been shown capable of measuring quantities smaller than a trillionth of a gram and to be applicable to materials ranging from pesticides to pharmaceutical products, and explosives to illicit drugs.” FAPA works by exposing an unknown sample to a flow of extremely hot and energetic gas. The gas ionizes metals and other elements so they can be measured by mass spectrometry or ion-mobility spectrometry. The mass spectrum can be analyzed to determine the compounds present.