Mimicking the biological olfactory system: a Portable electronic Mucosa


In this study the authors report on the development of a new type of electronic nose (e-nose) instrument, which the authors refer to as the Portable electronic Mucosa (PeM) as a continuation of previous research. It is designed to mimic the human nose by taking significant biological features and replicating them electronically. The term electronic mucosa or simply e-mucosa was used because our e-nose emulates the nasal chromatographic effect discovered in the olfactory epithelium, located within the upper turbinate. The e-mucosa generates spatio-temporal information that the authors believe could lead to improved odour discrimination. The PeM comprises three large sensor arrays each containing a total of 576 sensors, with 24 different coatings, to increase the odour selectivity. The nasal chromatographic effect provides temporal information in the human olfactory system, and is mimicked here using two-coated retentive channels. These channels are coated with polar and non-polar compounds to enhance the selectivity of the instrument. Thus, for an unknown sample, the authors have both the spatial information (as with a traditional e-nose) and the temporal information. The authors believe that this PeM may offer a way forward in developing a new range of low-cost e-noses with superior odour specificity.

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