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Smell is the sense provoked by a stimulus received at the olfactory sensory system. Our sense of smell detects particles suspended in the air and to do so, olfactory organs, "noses", provided with a series of sensors generate a specific signal (electrical in this case) for each particle and the brain finally associates that signal with a specific smell. This principle is also used to create any type of sensors which enable us to specifically identify chemicals.



 The reactive or sensory area is made up of a recognition component and an integrated system which facilitates processing the signal produced and generating a mechanical, electrical, optical response or other type of response.





Nanosensors are hyper-sensitive detectors capable of identifying nanoparticles.

Mechanical nanosensors consist of nanometric-size arms where gas molecules rest. By measuring torsion or oscillation changes in these nanoarms, gas molecule composition can be determined.




Electrical nanosensor: When particles interact with the nanosensor, the change in electrical current trough it is used to identify the composition.




Possible applications

Microarrays or biochips used for DNA detection and sequencing; nanonose for cancer detection in human breath; nanosensors to detect pollution, explosives, drugs, food expiry; nanosensors to detect blood alcohol concentration compatible with smartphone, etc.


Examples in nature

Dogs trained to detect explosives or toxic products; pigs capable of finding truffles buried under the soil; iridescent butterflies with chemical/heat sensors on their wings; or sharks capable of smelling blood.