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Nanomaterial-Based Sensors for Exhaled Breath Analysis: A Review

Mohan Velumani, Asokan Prasanth, Subramaniyam Narasimman, ,
Published in MDPI
Volume: 12
Issue: 12

The quantification of gases in breath has gained significant attention as a modern diagnosis method due to its non-invasive nature, and as a painless and straightforward method for the early detection of physiological disorders. Several notable clinical applications have been established for disease diagnosis by correlating exhaled breath samples and specific diseases. In addition, diverse breath molecules represent a biomarker of specific illnesses and are precisely identified by the standard analytical method. However, because of the bulky equipment size, expensive cost, and complexity in measurement when using analytical methods, many researchers are focusing on developing highly selective, sensitive, stable, robust, and economical sensors for breath analysis. It is essential to optimize approaches such as breath sampling, biomarker sensing, data analysis, etc. However, the detection of ppb-level biomarkers in exhaled breath is too challenging to solve due to the abundance of interfering gases. We present a brief and comprehensive review of a recent diagnostic technique that employs nanomaterial (NM)-based sensors to identify the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) associated to diseases. Because they are easily fabricated, chemically versatile, and can be integrated with existing sensing platforms, NMs are ideal for such sensors. Initially, this review provides crucial details about certain representative biomarkers found in diseased patients’ exhaled breath and the demand for breath sensors. Subsequently, the review highlights diverse sensor technologies such as electrical, optical, and mass-sensitive gas sensors and describes their sensing capability for detecting the biomarkers’ concentrations and their primary endeavor of diagnosing disease. Finally, the pitfalls and challenges of sensor characteristics are discussed. This article lays the basis for developing high-performance gas sensors based on novel NMs.

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