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Granted U.S. Patent for fast, highly sensitive chemical analysis without sample preparation

Austin, TX (September 27, 2016) - 

1st Detect Corporation, a subsidiary of Astrotech Corporation (NASDAQ: ASTC), announced the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a key patent for increasing the performance of the company’s unique ion trap mass spectrometer used for chemical analysis and detection. 1st Detect’s total patent count is now 17 U.S. and 6 international issued, and 7 U.S. and 10 international pending.


“This patented technology enables 1st Detect to analyze without sample preparation at high levels of sensitivity and speed, and opens new markets,” said Thomas B. Pickens III, CEO of 1st Detect. “Some potential applications include breath analysis, explosives detection, chemical warfare agent detection and detection of various trace impurities in a sample.”


U.S. Patent No. 9,451,364, entitled ‘Preconcentrating a Sample in a Preconcentrator Evacuated to Substantially the Same Pressure as an Analytical Device,’ represents a key technological advantage for 1st Detect to miniaturize mass spectrometers yet retain the ability to analyze a wide variety of compounds at extremely low concentrations, in under a minute.


1st Detect’s preconcentrator is an inlet to its mass spectrometer, used to concentrate the chemical signal in order to lower the limit of detection for trace chemical signals. This patent protects the technique and design aspect of using evacuation of a preconcentrator tube in order to bridge the vacuum barrier into a mass spectrometer, increasing concentration efficiency.


1st Detect Corporation has developed an instrument that revolutionizes the chemical detection and analysis market by delivering laboratory performance mass spectrometry in a small, affordable and portable package. The 1st Detect chemical analyzer utilizes core technology that is fast, highly sensitive and accurate. The unit is capable of detecting a wide variety of chemicals including residues and vapors from explosives, chemical warfare agents, toxic chemicals, food and beverage contaminants, and pollutants. These capabilities, combined in an economically priced solution, make it an ideal tool for a variety of applications in the research, security, industrial, process flow and healthcare markets.


About 1st Detect Corporation


1st Detect, a subsidiary of Astrotech Corporation (NASDAQ: ASTC), develops, manufactures, and sells powerful, highly sensitive, and accurate mass spectrometers that are used in explosive and chemical warfare detection for the Department of Homeland Security and the military. The 1st Detect technology can also be used in various medical and industrial applications including breath analysis, leak detection and food and beverage manufacturing. These capabilities, combined in an economically priced, transportable, and ruggedized solution, make it an ideal tool for a variety of applications. For more information on 1st Detect Corporation, please visit


About Astrotech Corporation


Astrotech Corporation (NASDAQ: ASTC) is an innovative science and technology company that invents, acquires, and commercializes technological innovations sourced from research institutions, laboratories, universities, and internally, and then funds, manages, and builds proprietary, scalable start-up companies for profitable divestiture to market leaders to maximize shareholder value. Sourced from Oak Ridge Laboratory’s chemical analyzer research, 1st Detect develops, manufactures, and sells powerful, highly sensitive, and accurate mass spectrometers that can be used in explosive and chemical warfare detection for the Department of Homeland Security and the military. Sourced from decades of image research from the laboratories of IBM and Kodak combined with classified satellite technology from government laboratories, Astral Images sells film to digital image enhancement, defect removal and color correction software, and post processing services providing economically feasible conversion of television and feature 35mm and 16mm films to the new 4K ultra-high definition (UHD), high-dynamic range (HDR) format necessary for the new generation of digital distribution. Sourced from NASA’s extensive microgravity research, Astrogenetix is applying a fast-track on-orbit discovery platform using the International Space Station to develop vaccines and other therapeutics. Demonstrating its entrepreneurial strategy, Astrotech management sold its state-of-the-art satellite servicing operations to Lockheed Martin in August 2014. Astrotech has operations throughout Texas and is headquartered in Austin. For information, please visit


This press release contains forward-looking statements that are made pursuant to the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements are subject to risks, trends, and uncertainties that could cause actual results to be materially different from the forward-looking statement. These factors include, but are not limited to, whether we can successfully develop our proprietary technologies and whether the market will accept our products and services, as well as other risk factors and business considerations described in the Company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings including the annual report on Form 10-K. Any forward-looking statements in this document should be evaluated in light of these important risk factors. The Company assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements.


Company Contact:


Raj Mellacheruvu

Chief Operating Officer

Astrotech Corporation

(512) 485-9530

IR Contact:


Cathy Mattison and Kirsten Chapman

LHA Investor Relations

(415) 433-3777


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