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Optical 'frequency comb' can detect the breath of disease
Date:2/19/2008

s exhaled breath that entered an optical cavity where it was combed by the light pulses. By detecting which colors of light were absorbed and in what amountsessentially looking for light absorbed near the teeth of the comb the researchers could detect specific molecules and their concentrations. For example, a student smoker who participated in the experiment had a level of carbon monoxide that was five times greater than a nonsmoker in the experiment. The optical comb approach allows the researchers to simultaneously analyze a very broad spectrum, covering many possible molecular compounds, with high precision, frequency resolution and sensitivity. The technique is in early phases, and would require clinical trials before it could become available at a doctors office, but it could lead to one of the first widespread applications of frequency combs.


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Contact: Ben Stein
bstein@nist.gov
301-975-3097
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Source:Eurekalert  

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