Analysis of Sweat Simulant Mixtures using Multiplexed Arrays of DNA-Carbon Nanotube Vapor Sensors

Carbon nanotube (NT) based electronic vapor sensors were tested against synthetic sweat solutions, consisting of 13 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in saline, in order to probe the device ability to analyze and differentiate vapors derived from complex biological samples. Arrays of up to 56 NT devices each were fabricated and functionalized with single stranded DNA to increase sensitivity and selectivity. DNA/NT devices were able to differentiate changes as small as 50% in a compound with estimated concentration in the vapor at part-per-billion levels, in a complex vapor background that contained the thirteen VOCs. This sensor class has vapor response times on the order of ten seconds, and is reusable and self-refreshing. The fabrication process is scalable, and sensor arrays are compact compared to traditional analysis equipment such as gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). The detectable differences among the simulated sweat mixtures were on the same scale as person-to-person variations in VOCs reported by others previously, demonstrating that DNA/NT vapor sensors show great promise for odor-based chemical biometric applications.

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