Researchers from Russia and Germany have used arrays of titanium dioxide nanotubes to devise a highly sensitive and selective sensor for detecting traces of gas in the air.
The device can identify substance types by dividing a given material into segments and processing the obtained vector signal using pattern recognition techniques. This enables it to create a fingerprint for each type of gas it detects. In laboratory tests, the sensor detected and distinguished between acetone, isopropanol and ethanol.
The sensor may also have medical applications: when people have certain diseases like diabetes or cancer, their breath contains abnormally high amounts of organic gases, particularly acetone. The gas sensor would be able to detect these abnormalities in patients.
The technology is inexpensive and scalable for easy implementation in modern electronics.
Researchers from Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Russia), the Yuri Gagarin State Technical University of Saratov (Russia), the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Radioengineering and Electronics, and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany) participated in this development.