Development of compact electronic noses: A review

Lu Cheng, Qing Hao Meng, Achim J. Lilienthal, Pei Feng Qi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


An electronic nose (e-nose) is a measuring instrument that mimics human olfaction and outputs 'fingerprint' information of mixed gases or odors. Generally speaking, an e-nose is mainly composed of two parts: a gas sensing system (gas sensor arrays, gas transmission paths) and an information processing system (microprocessor and related hardware, pattern recognition algorithms). It has been more than 30 years since the e-nose concept was introduced in the 1980s. Since then, e-noses have evolved from being large in size, expensive, and power-hungry instruments to portable, low cost devices with low power consumption. This paper reviews the development of compact e-nose design and calculation over the last few decades, and discusses possible future trends. Regarding the compact e-nose design, which is related to its size and weight, this paper mainly summarizes the development of sensor array design, hardware circuit design, gas path (i.e. the path through which the mixed gases to be measured flow inside the e-nose system) and sampling design, as well as portable design. For the compact e-nose calculation, which is directly related to its rapidity of detection, this review focuses on the development of on-chip calculation and wireless computing. The future trends of compact e-noses include the integration with the internet of things, wearable e-noses, and mobile e-nose systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number062002
JournalMeasurement Science and Technology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • compact electronic nose (e-nose)
  • gas path and sampling
  • gas sensor array
  • hardware circuit
  • mobile e-nose
  • on-chip calculation
  • wearable e-nose


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