Bioelectronic Nose To Have Biomimetic Chemical Sensors

A team of based at the University of Pennsylvania have made significant progress on the path toward a bioelectronic nose that can be directly compared to biological olfactory systems.

(Olfactory receptor (OR) membrane proteins coupled with carbon nanotubes)

Our results suggest that the capacity of mORs to bind to nonbiological odorants is preserved when integrated with NT devices, maintaining the mOR’s ability to adapt to new analytes. This system thus has potential for the creation of chemical sensor arrays that would have the flexibility of the biological sense of smell; fabrication of such arrays using existing lithography and liquid spotting methods has already been demonstrated…Vapor response measurements demonstrate that ORs with known odorant sensing properties can be coupled to an electronic device and transfer many of those sensing properties to the device.

Science fiction fans have already seen uses for a bioelectronic nose. An electronic nose, or sniffer robot was featured in the 1985 movie Runaway, written and directed by Michael Crichton.

(Sniffer robot from the movie Runaway)

The mechanical hound from Ray Bradbury's 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451 was also able to detect scents by setting the "ticking combinations of the [hound's] olfactory system".

From Biomimetic Chemical Sensors Using Nanoelectronic Readout of Olfactory Receptor Proteins via megGadget.

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