EECS500 Fall 2016 Department Colloquium

Xiao-An Fu
Micropreconcentrators and Sensors for Analysis of Trace Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
University of Louisville
White 411
September 27, 2016

Trace volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are ubiquitous in air, exhaled breath, cigarette smoke and aerosol of electronic cigarettes. Some VOCs in air and smoke are toxic and some VOCs in exhaled breath are related to biochemical processes of specific diseases. Detection of toxic VOCs in air and smoke is thus very important for environment protection and promotion of public health, while analysis of VOCs in exhaled breath holds great promises as non-invasive methods for diagnosis of many diseases including lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), active tuberculosis, diabetes, and heart disease.  However, it is extremely difficult to analyze VOCs by current analytic instruments due to trace levels of these VOCs and interference of other matrix components.  We have recently reported innovative microreactor devices for concentration and analysis of a subset of VOCs, named ketones and aldehydes in exhaled breath.  Ketone and aldehyde are metabolites produced in biochemical pathways as intermediates due to their reactive nature. We have identified some VOCs in exhaled breath as biomarkers of lung cancer for detection of early lung cancer and differentiation of benign pulmonary nodules from malignant lung cancer. In this talk, the design, simulation, fabrication of microreactors and application of microreactors for analysis of VOCs in exhaled breath and aerosols of electronic cigarettes will be presented. Microfabricated gas sensor array or electronic nose based on thiol modified gold nanoparticles for detection of VOCs in air and exhaled breath will also be discussed. 


Xiao-An Fu is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky.  He received his Ph.D. degree in Chemical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University in 2001.  From 2001 to 2008, he was a senior research associate and a researcher in Professor Mehregany’s group in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Case Western Reserve University. He was one of the inventors for developing low stress polycrystalline SiC thin films deposited by low pressure chemical vapor deposition. He was a key contributor to several DARPA funded projects including SiC MEMS and SiC integrated circuits for high temperature and harsh environment applications. He joined the faculty of the University of Louisville in 2008.  His current research interests include developing microdevices for analysis of exhaled breath for biomarker discovery, microfabricated solar cells, and synthesis of functional nanomaterials. He has published over 60 papers in refereed journals and conference proceedings. He has authored seven US patents and patent applications.