Developing a Breathalyzer Device that can Detect the State of COVID-19 Disease Early Through Infrared Spectroscopy
Bernard Neches Professor of Electrical Engineering, Applied Physics and Physics
The Scherer group is working on is a breath analyzer that uses high-resolution infrared (IR) spectroscopy to uniquely identify specific molecules, whose relative levels are associated with infection. Target molecules to detect for COVID-19-related illnesses include ketones, aldehydes, esters, short-chain fatty acids, acetic acid, and other organic acids. The device will analyze the relative concentrations of the target molecules. Signatures from healthy subjects can be compared with those from patients with lower respiratory infections for early detection of disease. The Scherer group has built an inexpensive mid-IR spectrometer by leveraging the low cost of modern thermal imaging cameras. They also use a novel sample collection system that collects gases onto an IR- transparent silicon sample collector/holder with a built-in heater that enables the rapid deconvolution of complex samples to analyze constituents. The next step is to build 50 prototypes and enough sample holders to bring this instrument into clinical use and start the FDA clearance process under the emergency use authorization format. Prof. Scherer has already identified clinical partners for testing this breathalyzer system.
Philanthropic goal: $250,000
Suggested minimum gift: $1,000
For more information, please contact: Joe Shea, Senior Director of Development