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An Optoelectronic Nose:“Seeing” Smells by Means of Colorimetric Sensor Arrays


A new approach to general sensors for odors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) using thin films of chemically responsive dyes as a colorimetric sensor array is described. This optoelectronic “nose,” by using an array of multiple dyes whose colors change based on the full range of intermolecular interactions, provides enormous discriminatory power among odorants in a simple device that can be easily digitally imaged. High sensitivities (ppb) have been demonstrated for the detection of biologically important analytes such as amines, carboxylic acids, and thiols. By the proper choice of dyes and substrate, the array can be made essentially nonresponsive to changes in humidity.

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1K.J. Albert , N.S. Lewis , C.L. Schauer , G.A. Sotzing , S.E. Stitzel , T.P. Vaid , and D.R. Walt , Chem. Rev. 100 (2000) p. 2595.

3N.A. Rakow and K.S. Suslick , Nature 406 (2000) p. 710.

7J. Wang , Z. Luthey-Schulten , and K.S. Suslick , Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 100 (2003) p. 3035.

9A. Sen and K.S. Suslick , J. Am. Chem. Soc. 122 (2000) p. 11565.

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