Understanding the performance limits of a biological chemosensor
"Electronic noses" are designed to detect small amounts of many volatile compounds in complex mixtures. These devices have the potential to make a major impact on biomedical diagnosis. Biological olfactory systems have provided the initial inspiration for electronic nose technology, and are expected to guide continued improvement of these devices in the future. The aim of this project is to characterize the performance limits of a simpl biological chemosensor that shares the basic architecture (and same sensor array size) as the current generation of electronic noses. Specifically, we will use an interdisciplinary approach to investigate how the Drosophilia olfactory system performs at the extreme limits of (1) minimal sensor array size, and (2) minimal processing time. The results of these experiments should make a significant contribution to understanding biological olfactory processing, and should provide illustratice examples guiding conceptual improvements to the sensor hardware and decoding software of electronic noses.
Arnold O. Beckman exemplifies the meaning of the word humanitarian. Combined with his unwavering enthusiasm for life, his keen sense of humor and his strong moral and ethical principles, he is a national icon.