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The artificial nose project

Micrometer-sized resonating cantilevers are used to measure the molecular components of exhaled air, to diagnose your health condition.

The analysis of your breath can provide much information about processes going on in your body and especially in your lungs. The alcohol breath test is a well-known test, checking for only one component in the exhaled air, namely for alcohol. However your breath contains dozens of different molecules that are the product of biochemical reactions taking place in your body.

This week we explain why information about these molecules is important. Then we discuss how nanotechnology can help to measure these molecules in your breath. The technology we employ to do that is based on so-called micro-cantilevers.

We explain how these work and can be used for gas measurements. Then we describe how they are made in the clean-room, going through all the process steps.

One of several technologies, that are used in the fabrication of nano-devices in general and of cantilevers in particular, is the photolithography process. It is explained how this process is used to define structures on the micrometer and nanometer scale.

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Nanotechnology for Health: Innovative Designs for Medical Diagnosis

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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