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Talanta. 2008 Oct 19;77(1):77-83. doi: 10.1016/j.talanta.2008.05.042. Epub 2008 Jun 5.

Development of an electronic nose to identify and quantify volatile hazardous compounds.

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  • 1CESAM & Department of Chemistry, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal.


A new electronic nose was developed to identify the chemical compound released when a 2.5-L flask was broken inside a 3 m x 3 m x 2.5 m store-room. Flasks of 10 different hazardous compounds were initially present in the room: ammonia, propanone, hexane, acetic acid, toluene, methanol, tetrachloromethane, chloroform, ethanol and dichloromethane. Besides identification, quantification of the compound present in the air was also performed by the electronic nose, in order to evaluate the risk level for room cleaning. An array of six sensors based on coated piezoelectric quartz crystals was used. Although none of the individual sensors was specific for a single compound, an artificial neural network made it possible to identify and quantify the released vapour, among a series of 10 compounds, with six sensors. The neural network could be simplified, and the number of neurons reduced, provided it was used just for the identification task. Quantification could be performed later using the individual calibration of the sensor most sensitive to the identified compound.

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