The aim of this project is to develop a non-invasive diagnostic tool for medical applications, such as the early diagnosis of diseases, by real-time analysis of trace gas concentrations in human breath. Presently, early detection requires very expensive invasive tests, e.g. biopsy, endoscopy and x-rays that may be painful and potentially harmful. The challenge to modern medicine is to develop cost-effective and non-invasive tests for early diagnosis. We propose to develop and apply a novel type of laser-based analytical instrument, the optical nose, for rapid screening of human breath, in order to identify in real time the specific markers related to various diseases. We shall focus on chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, lung cancer and colorectal cancer, as lead to get a "proof of concept". The consortium will perform research on the currently most promising trace gas analysis methods based on advanced mid-IR laser sources, optical parametric oscillators (OPOs), in combination with ultra-sensitive spectroscopic detection methods. By exploiting the latest solid-state laser and optical fibre technology, the capabilities of existing OPOs will be considerably extended and matching detection methods will be developed to retrieve and computer-analyse trace gas concentration data within only seconds. The laser-based analytical instrument will operate in the 2.5-10 mm wavelength range with maximum coverage of the molecular fingerprint region and a superior wavelength agility (tens of thousands of distinct wavelengths per second). This enables rapid and accurate medical examination of human breath, as required for building a database connecting the spectroscopic data of the breath analysis with medical evidence.
Call for proposal
See other projects for this call