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A Raman cell based on hollow core photonic crystal fiber for human breath
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has a potential prospect to benefit the medical field based on its perceived advantages
to become a point-of-care, easy to use, and cost-effective technology. Early studies
done by mass spectrometry show that volatile organic compounds from human breath can
represent certain disease states of our bodies, such as lung cancer, and revealed the
potential of breath analysis. But mass spectrometry is costly and has slow-turnaround
time. The authors’ goal is to develop a more portable and cost effective device based on
Raman spectroscopy and hollow core-photonic crystal fiber (HC-PCF) for breath
scattering is a photon-molecular interaction based on the kinetic
modes of an analyte which offers unique fingerprint type signals that allow molecular
identification. HC-PCF is a novel light guide which allows light to be confined in a
hollow core and it can be filled with a gaseous sample. Raman signals generated by the
gaseous sample (i.e., human breath) can be guided and collected effectively for
A Raman-cell based on HC-PCF in the near infrared wavelength range was developed and
tested in a single pass forward-scattering mode for different gaseous samples.
were obtained successfully from reference gases (hydrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide gases),
ambient air, and a human breath sample. The calculated minimum detectable concentration
of this system was ∼15 parts per million by volume, determined by measuring the carbon dioxide concentration
in ambient air via the characteristic Raman peaks at 1286 and 1388 cm−1.
The results of this study were compared to a previous study using HC-PCF to trap
industrial gases and backward-scatter 514.5 nm light from them. The authors found that
the method presented in this paper has an advantage to enhance the signal-to-noise ratio
(SNR). This SNR advantage, coupled with the better transmission of HC-PCF in the
in the visible wavelengths led to an estimated seven times improvement in the detection
sensitivity. The authors’ prototype device also demonstrated a 100-fold improvement over
a recently reported detection limit of a reflective capillary fiber-based Raman cell for
Continued development is underway to increase the detection sensitivity further to reach
practical clinical applications.
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