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Anal Chem. 2010 May 1;82(9):3581-7. doi: 10.1021/ac902695n.

Si:WO(3) Sensors for highly selective detection of acetone for easy diagnosis of diabetes by breath analysis.

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Particle Technology Laboratory, Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering, Institute of Process Engineering, ETH Zurich, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland.


Acetone in the human breath is an important marker for noninvasive diagnosis of diabetes. Here, novel chemo-resistive detectors have been developed that allow rapid measurement of ultralow acetone concentrations (down to 20 ppb) with high signal-to-noise ratio in ideal (dry air) and realistic (up to 90% RH) conditions. The detector films consist of (highly sensitive) pure and Si-doped WO(3) nanoparticles (10-13 nm in diameter) made in the gas phase and directly deposited onto interdigitated electrodes. Their sensing properties (selectivity, limit of detection, response, and recovery times) have been investigated as a function of operating temperature (325-500 degrees C), relative humidity (RH), and interfering analyte (ethanol or water vapor) concentration. It was found that Si-doping increases and stabilizes the acetone-selective epsilon-WO(3) phase while increasing its thermal stability and, thus, results in superior sensing performance with an optimum at about 10 mol % Si content. Furthermore, increasing the operation temperature decreased the detector response to water vapor, and above 400 degrees C, it was (<or=0.7) always below the threshold (10.6) for fake diabetes detection in ideal conditions. At this temperature and at 90% RH, healthy humans (<or=900 ppb acetone) and diabetes patients (>or=1800 ppb) can be clearly distinguished by a remarkable gap (40%) in sensor response. As a result, these solid state detectors may offer a portable and cost-effective alternative to more bulky systems for noninvasive diabetes detection by human breath analysis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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