Scents consist of many different molecules, which we can smell with our nose. Nice fragrances such as this flower or a fresh croissant. But also foul odours such as dog poop or sour milk. However, sometimes there are things that we cannot smell with our nose, such as whether someone is sick, or poisonous substances. An artificial nose can help us in those cases. Such an artificial nose consists of many sensors, which must all be different on a molecular scale. Each sensor looks at the scent in a slightly different way, and together they form a so to speak 3D image of this scent. However, it is not obvious at all to make such different sensors. That is why I investigated with computer simulations how you can adapt a series of the same sensors, using a special polymer coating, so that they are all different. In this way we can hopefully make an artificial nose more easily and smell more things, even if we cannot do that with our own nose.

Twente University

Your nose is (of course) the organ that allows you to smell. But not all smells can be perceived by humans. That is why Leon Smook is investigating the possibilities of an artificial nose, which can identify odors at a molecular level.

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