Scientists create laser that ‘smells’ like a hound

Sarah Scholten and Dr Ben Sparkes

Scientists have created a laser which may eventually be used as a human breath test to screen for serious illness.

University of Adelaide researchers have created a laser that can “smell” different gases within a sample.

The researchers liken the ability of the laser to differentiate between different gas compounds in a sample to the sensitive nose of a bloodhound. But rather than smell, the device uses patterns of light absorption to measure the composition of the sample.

Applications for the new device lie not just in environmental monitoring and detecting industrial contamination, but may eventually be used to diagnose disease by 'smelling' the breath.

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Tagged in Research, Physics, Chemistry News, Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing - IPAS, School of Physical Sciences

Competition: Young Scientist of the Year

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Australian high school students are invited to submit a short video about one of Australia’s big science challenges.

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