An Optoelectronic Nose: “Seeing” Smells by Means of Colorimetric Sensor Arrays

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A new approach to general sensors for odors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) using thin films of chemically responsive dyes as a colorimetric sensor array is described. This optoelectronic “nose by using an array of multiple dyes whose colors change based on the full range of intermolecular interactions, provides enormous discriminatory power among odorants in a simple device that can be easily digitally imaged. High sensitivities (ppb) have been demonstrated for the detection of biologically important analytes such as amines, carboxylic acids, and thiols. By the proper choice of dyes and substrate, the array can be made essentially nonresponsive to changes in humidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)720-725
Number of pages6
JournalMRS Bulletin
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • optical materials
  • optical spectroscopy
  • sensor technology
  • thin films
  • volatile organic compounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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