Electronic 'Nose' Can Help Diagnose Diseases

First Posted: Feb 10, 2016 12:31 PM EST

Scientists have created a new electronic "nose" that can be potentially used to help diagnose diseases. The new device analyzes gas mixtures through the use of semiconductor sensors, according to a study at the Tomsk State University.

Smell can be detected based on the combination of a number of existing gases in the atmosphere. The conductivity of the semiconductor probe changes during sedimentation of gas molecules from the atmosphere, which enables the device to determine their presence, according to Timur Muksunov, coauthor of the study. The sensor can be customized to react well to some gases or to react badly to other gases.

The researchers claimed that it is impossible to make a sensor that reacts to one gas. This would require "sensitivity" and "selectivity." The researchers applied a processing technique that was used to determine the freshness of vegetables and fruits, since they release ammonia, hydrogen sulphide and other gases. As fruits and vegetables become older or more stale, they tend emit more gas into the air.

The researchers refrigerated apples and some of the apples were left at room temperature. After twelve hours, the device was able to determine the apples at room temperature emitted gases more intensively than the refrigerated ones.

The new device can be applied to make more accurate determinations of the shelf life of products and it can even be applied to the medical field, according to the researchers.

The findings of this study were published in the Russian Physics Journal.

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