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Engineers develop prototype electronic nose

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A prototype electronic nose could have implications for disease detection.

Scientists have created an electronic nose which could have applications in disease detection – as well as industrial uses.

Their prototype uses nanoengineered materials to tune sensitivity and selectivity to mimic the performance and capabilities of a human nose.

This is no mean feat, given that the human nose has approximately 400 scent receptors and can distinguish millions of different smells.

The human nose captures those gases in a way that Nosang Vincent Myung, the Bernard Keating Crawford Professor of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, is working to duplicate in a device with sensors.

According to Nosang Vincent Myung, an engineering professor from the University of Notre Dame, the chemical properties of gases affect the electrical properties of the sensing materials.

By manipulating the size and shape of the nanoengineered materials, he and his team can make more precise sensors that function more efficiently and economically.

“An electronic nose can be used for a variety of applications,” said Myung. “For example, we can detect air pollutants or greenhouse gases. But we can also use it to uncover drugs and bombs, sniff out cancer and bacterial infections, as well as identify natural gas leaks and assess food quality.”

He and his team also are designing a smart agricultural sensor system to monitor the nitrogen cycle in fields to help eliminate greenhouses gases while enhancing the yield of the produce being grown.

In addition, they are developing a wearable smart sensor system for military personnel that can detect poisonous gases and other threats.

“Developing better sensors is critical for a number of industries,” said Myung. “The future will be shaped by our ability to design and build smart, accurate and low-powered sensors that will help us better understand and interact with the world around us.”

Myung was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Center for Bioanalytical Metrology for a Smart Process Analytical Technology System to monitor chemical/biochemical reactions in industrial and laboratory chemical processing applications in real time.

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  1. Pingback: Growing the diagnostics arm of the health tech sector | Health Tech World

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