Ready for Transfer

Savannah River National Laboratory's Elemental Mercury Probe

Dept. of Energy

Laboratory: Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL)

Technology: Elemental Mercury Probe

Opportunity: Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS), the management and operating partner for SRNL, invites interested companies with proven capabilities in this area of expertise to enter into a licensing agreement with SRNS to market this nuclear material detection system. Interested companies will be requested to submit a business plan setting forth company qualifications, strategies, activities, and milestones for commercializing this invention.

Qualifications should include past experience at bringing similar products to market, a reasonable schedule for product launch, sufficient manufacturing capacity, established distribution networks, and evidence of sufficient financial resources for product development and launch.

Details: Engineers at SRNL have designed a new probe for the identification of elemental mercury in the subsurface using direct-push techniques. The device provides a cone-penetrometer-based sensor that produces an electric potential when mercury is contacted in the subsurface.

This direct-push approach provides an easy-to-use and minimally invasive technique for characterization of mercury-contaminated soils and sediments.

The device incorporates use of a disposable, sacrificial tip to cover the electrode during deployment. The abrasive action of the subsurface during insertion of the probe removes the tip covering, allowing for a spontaneous electrical reaction (potential) when mercury is present. This potential can be easily measured and logged with standard equipment. During the reaction the mercury present is not depleted and serves as a catalyst, creating a unique voltage signal at depth.


  • Rapid site characterization
  • Minimally invasive technique
  • Easy measurement and logging of electromotive potential

Applications: This technology can be used for the identification of mercury in the subsurface at mercury-contaminated sites.

Contact: For more information about this technology, contact Dale Haas, Commercialization Manager, at

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