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Proceedings Paper

Progress in the development of an electronic nose using arrays of chemically sensitive carbon black-polymer resistors
Author(s): Brett J. Doleman; Erik J. Severin; Robert D. Sanner; Nathan Saul Lewis
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Paper Abstract

Response data were collected for a carbon black-polymer composite electronic nose array during exposure to homologous series of alkanes and alcohols. At a fixed partial pressure of odorant in the vapor phase, the mean response intensity of the electronic nose signals varied significantly for members of each series of odorants. However, the mean response intensity of the electronic nose detectors, and the response intensity of the most strongly-driven set of electronic nose detectors, was essentially constant for members of a chemically homologous odorant series when the concentration of each odorant in the gas phase was maintained at a constant fraction of the odorant's vapor pressure. Because the thermodynamic activity of an odorant at equilibrium in a sorbent phase is equal to the partial pressure of the odorant in the gas phase divided by the vapor pressure of the odorant, and because the activity coefficients are similar within these homologous series of odorants for sorption of the vapors into specific polymer films, the data imply that the trends in detector response can be understood based on the thermodynamic tendency to establish a relatively constant concentration of sorbed odorant into each of the polymeric films of the electronic nose at a constant fraction of the odorant's vapor pressure. This phenomenon provides a natural mechanism for enhanced sensitivity to low vapor pressure compounds, like TNT, in the presence of high vapor pressure analytes, such as diesel fuel. In a related study to evaluate the target recognition properties of the electronic nose, a statistical metric based on the magnitudes and standard deviations along Euclidean projections of clustered array response data, was utilized to facilitate an evaluation of the performance of detector arrays in various vapor classification tasks. This approach allowed quantification of the ability of a fourteen-element array of carbon black-insulating polymer composite chemiresistors to distinguish between members of a set of nineteen solvent vapors, some of which vary widely in chemical properties (e.g. methanol and benzene) and others of which are very similar (e.g. n-pentane and n-heptane). The data also facilitated evaluation of questions such as array performance as a function of the number of detectors in the system.

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 September 1998
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 3392, Detection and Remediation Technologies for Mines and Minelike Targets III, (4 September 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.324211
Show Author Affiliations
Brett J. Doleman, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Erik J. Severin, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Robert D. Sanner, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Nathan Saul Lewis, California Institute of Technology (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3392:
Detection and Remediation Technologies for Mines and Minelike Targets III
Abinash C. Dubey; James F. Harvey; J. Thomas Broach, Editor(s)

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