The presence of a disease can be detected with the help of exhaled breath, pertaining to its richness in biomarkers. Ethanol, acetone and isopropanol in particular can prove to be indicative of the presence of lung cancer. Thus it is important to have methods that can measure these chemicals in the breath, which will further provide a way to diagnose lung cancer or to screen for it.
The humidity of breath, challenges in calibrating such systems along with the presence of a number of anaytes within the breath are some of the reasons that lead to inaccuracies of the biomarkers exhaled using the methods currently available to measure the same.
Bare multi- layer graphene, which is a material, one carbon atom thick can be used to measure ethonal, isopropanol, and acetone in exhaled breath much more accurately according to the researchers at University of Exeter.
According to one of the co- authors of the study published in journal “Nanoscale”, Ben Hogan, the new biosensors which have been developed by them show that graphene has major potential for use as an electrode in e- nose devices. He further added that for the first time it has been proved that with the apt patterning graphene can be used as a specific, selective and sensitive detector for biomarkers.
However, it is important to note that graphene is difficult to produce in significant quantities, thus a challenge for any technology that replies on it to function. To manufacture graphene in large scale, a lot of work is underway, though the serious limitations to it need to be tackled.