• Technical Name
  • Portable Cloud-integrated Pen-Probe Analyzer for In-situ Analysis of Volatile Organic Compounds Emanating from Surfaces
  • Operator
  • National Tsing Hua University
  • Booth
  • Online display only
  • Contact
  • 李恩慈
  • Email
  • eclee@mx.nthu.edu.tw
Technical Description The user approaches pen-shaped probe to the analyzed object or surface. Volatile organic compounds are immediately scavenged from the surface by a gentle flow of air, and transmitted to atmospheric pressure chemical ionization source. In this type of ion source, energetic electrons ionize ambient gas. The formed primary ions involve in further reactions to produce second-generation ions from analyte molecules. The produced gas-phase analyte ions are then injected to the drift tube, where they are separated in time, and eventually detected. The electric signal is amplified and digitized. Multiple subspectra are collected this way, and stored in memory. They are further averaged and uploaded to the Internet cloud for retrieval and processing. Every data file contains the exact time and geographical co-ordinates of sample collection. The user controls operation of the instrument via a touch-screen.
Scientific Breakthrough The previous protocols for analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are time-consuming, and have to be executed in chemical laboratory. To expedite analysis of VOCs in the field, we have opted for sampling VOCs from solid surfaces with the aid of hydrodynamic flow of gas prior to instantaneous analysis by ion-mobility spectrometry (IMS). To make the sampling process ergonomic, we have devised pen-shaped probe that can easily be handled by operators without any special training. Following integration of the IMS analysis with the concept of IoT, the raw data can be uploaded to the Internet cloud, to enable post-detection analysis. Abnormal spectral patterns can then be spotted by means of statistical software tools.
Industrial Applicability This analytical platform has been developed for several potential applications:
(1) clinical diagnostics based on analysis of volatile skin metabolites and topical drugs;
(2) assessment of food quality (spoilage, detection of contaminants);
(3) environmental monitoring (detection of volatile pollutants in soil).
For example, patients’ skin can be sampled with the pen-probe to obtain spectral patterns of the skin volatome. In fact, some diseases give rise to increased biosynthesis and secretion of volatile compounds via skin. If these compounds can alter recorded spectral patterns, the technology can support diagnosis of those diseases. Thus, we would like to co-operate with a manufacturer of clinical diagnostic devices to introduce this technology to the market.