NIST Researchers Create New Electronic Nose Approach

November 15, 2008

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST, Gaithersburg, Maryland) have developed an approach for electronic noses that comprises 16 microheater elements and eight types of sensors.

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST, Gaithersburg, Maryland) have developed an approach for electronic noses that comprises 16 microheater elements and eight types of sensors. Electronic noses are based on interactions between chemical compounds and semiconducting sensing materials placed on top of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) microheater platforms developed at NIST. The sensors in the current effort consist of oxide films deposited on the surfaces of the microheaters, with two copies of each material. By controlling the individual heating elements, each of them can be treated as a collection of virtual sensors at 350 temperature increments between 15 °C and 500 °C. The electronic nose must be “trained” to recognize the chemical signatures of various smells before it can be used to detect unknown compounds.