The Electronic Nose: Review on Sensor Arrays and Future Perspectives
Sberveglieri, Giorgio
Genzardi, Dario
Greco, Giuseppe
Nunez-Carmona, Estefanía
Pezzottini, Simone
Sberveglieri, Veronica

How to Cite

Sberveglieri G., Genzardi D., Greco G., Nunez-Carmona E., Pezzottini S., Sberveglieri V., 2022, The Electronic Nose: Review on Sensor Arrays and Future Perspectives, Chemical Engineering Transactions, 95, 265-270.


Over the last 40 years, the term "electronic nose" (EN) has defined a device equipped with an array of not selective gas sensors capable of providing a response as a function of a stimulus provided by volatile chemical compounds (VOCs). Numerous studies have started from this idea, which have led to significant improvements and advantages, especially useful for providing a device capable of monitoring situations and applications in real-time. Applications that have strongly pushed the evolution of the “electronic nose” technology away from the laboratories and closer to more complex and stimulating real situations (Comini and Sberveglieri, 2010). One of the very initial goals of the EN was to simulate the mammalian nose to obtain a fast response regarding the characteristics of the analyte, high sensitivity for odours and high discrimination between them. In the last few years, a lot of upgrades have been made to the EN technology, thanks to artificial intelligence, machine learning evolutions, stability of the sensing elements, cloud processing, predictive algorithms, etc. Thanks to this strong commitment of all, this technology is reopening great interest in the industrial and consumers application field, managing to arrive directly in the transformation chains. The types of gas sensors used are various and are based on the modification of a physical or chemical parameter caused by the gases themselves. Conductometer sensors are the most common, being able to transduce a chemical signal in an electrical resistance signal. Other types of sensors have been developed and can be part of a functional array: Optical sensor, polymer sensor, electrochemical gas sensor, Quartz microbalances or SAW (Paolesse et al., 2017). In this presentation we will review the different sensor arrays most commonly used and a brief history of their evolution. From the point of view of sensor preparation technology, the one based on MEMS is becoming more and more widespread. A brief mention will also be made of the sensors used in the EN standard (called S3+) made by Nano Sensor Systems S.r.l. spin-off of the University of Brescia. We will conclude by presenting the evolution of sensors in recent years to better understand how the multisensory, multidisciplinary and cloud computing approach has positively influenced the real potential of Electronic Noses.