Synergy between nanomaterials and volatile organic compounds for non-invasive medical evaluation†
This article is an overview of the present and ongoing developments in the field of nanomaterial-based sensors for enabling fast, relatively inexpensive and minimally (or non-) invasive diagnostics of health conditions with follow-up by detecting volatile organic compounds (VOCs) excreted from one or combination of human body fluids and tissues (e.g., blood, urine, breath, skin). Part of the review provides a didactic examination of the concepts and approaches related to emerging sensing materials and transduction techniques linked with the VOC-based non-invasive medical evaluations. We also present and discuss diverse characteristics of these innovative sensors, such as their mode of operation, sensitivity, selectivity and response time, as well as the major approaches proposed for enhancing their ability as hybrid sensors to afford multidimensional sensing and information-based sensing. The other parts of the review give an updated compilation of the past and currently available VOC-based sensors for disease diagnostics. This compilation summarizes all VOCs identified in relation to sickness and sampling origin that links these data with advanced nanomaterial-based sensing technologies. Both strength and pitfalls are discussed and criticized, particularly from the perspective of the information and communication era. Further ideas regarding improvement of sensors, sensor arrays, sensing devices and the proposed workflow are also included.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Nanomaterial properties tuned by their environment