Cyrano Sciences, Inc.We Digitize Smell...


Cyrano FAQ


Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Is your device available?
2. Can we get a quotation?
3. Can we have a trial before purchasing?
4. How do you train the device?
5. How often will I need to recalibrate the device?
6. Is it possible to detect hydrocarbons like pentane and hexane?
7. What can you sense and discriminate?
8. Do you know the maximum number of odors that can be detected by one sensor array?
9. If the device can detect the signature or fingerprint of an odor, could you use that information to somehow reverse engineer the odor and create the odor?
10. Why and how does a specific polymer respond to a specific chemical stimulus?
11. What is the mechanism of response in the polymer?
12. Does the polymer respond to the chemical group? If so will it react to other chemicals that are very different from the first but have the same chemical group?
13. What is the response time of such sensors?
14. Will the sensors get contaminated after long usage?
15. How specific and quantitative is it? For example, can acetone concentrations be measured? Can it differentiate between, say, acetone and acetic acid?
16. If they do get contaminated how do we replace only the sensor part of the chip?
17. Will the device work inside water tanks and other highly aqueous environments?
18. How will I know if this works for my application?
19. Isn't your technology sensitive to water like conducting polymers?
20. What is the main difference between your technology and Metal Oxide Sensors?
21. Can the Cyranose 320 be used to detect chemical or biological warfare agents?
22. Where can I get a demonstration of the Cyranose 320?


Questions and Answers:

1.
Q: Is your device available?

A: The Cyranose 320 was lauched at Pittcon 2000 in New Orleans. It is available as a commercial product. Our NoseChips and Sensor Networking systems are customer specific products manufactured in volume. Please contact us to discuss your requirements. We can support individual chip requests at this time.

2.
Q: Can we get a quotation?

A: Please contact us for a quotation or call 1- or fax .
For customers outside North America please check to see if we have a distributor in your country first.

3.
Q: Can we have a trial before purchasing?

A: In North America we have a "kick-the-tires" rental program. Customers can lease the Cyranose 320 for a minimum 3-month period. If during this time you find our technology is not performing in your application, you can return it, for complete details please contact Cyrano Financial Services at (973) 292-0025.

4.
Q: How do you train the device?

A: Selection of a good set of training samples is critical to maximize the value of this instrument. The more appropriate the set of training samples the better the sensors and algorithms will be able to analyze your unknowns. The device will need to be trained by being exposed to 10 samples for each of your samples of interest.

5.
Q: How often will I need to recalibrate the device?

A: The Cyranose 320 does not require calibration and recalibration. You do need to train and possibly retrain the unit. How often this would need to be done, or whether there could be a short version to "correct" an established training set to compensate for sensor drift is still unknown. This would also be dependent on the application.

6.
Q: Is it possible to detect hydrocarbons like pentane and hexane?

A: Yes it is possible to detect hydrocarbons like pentane and hexane and we are readily able to distinguish them.

7.
Q: What can you sense and discriminate?

A: Generally our polymer composite sensors can detect volatiles with molecular weights from 30 to 250. However this is not a sure rule since we have also developed sensors that respond to compounds outside of this molecular range. We have demonstrated the sensitivity and discrimination to pure solvents (butanol, toluene, DMSO), complex mixtures (commercially available perfumes), natural products (essential oils, coffees, fruits) and by products from the metabolic breakdown of bacteria. We have also tested grains, rancidity of dried products, spices, and packaging materials.

8.
Q: Do you know the maximum number of odors that can be detected by one sensor array?

A: It is not the number of odors that can be differentiated by one sensor array that is the limiting factor. If you consider that we can have 32! different permutations of response for the sensor array you can see that there are many different combinations. However the algorithms cannot model the response for 100's of different samples. Currently the computational power on the Cyranose 320 restricts you to 6 classes (samples) in 1 method. The instrument can store 5 methods on the unit at one time, these can be swapped up and down from the PC where infinite methods can be stored.

9.
Q: If the device can detect the signature or fingerprint of an odor, could you use that information to somehow reverse engineer the odor and create the odor?

A: This would be beautiful, however we are not there yet and the construction of odors is not currently part of our business strategy.

10.
Q: Why and how does a specific polymer respond to a specific chemical stimulus?

A: A specific polymer does not respond to a specific stimulus. It is the overall response of the area to the sample that produces the 'smellprint'.

11.
Q: What is the mechanism of response in the polymer?

A: On exposure to a sample some of the sample will partition into the polymer. This causes the polymer to 'swell' and that swelling generally reduces the conductance through the sensor. This causes a resistance change that we measure.

12.
Q: Does the polymer respond to the chemical group? If so will it react to other chemicals that are very different from the first but have the same chemical group?

A: It is not a chemical reaction that we are measuring.

13.
Q: What is the response time of such sensors?

A: The response varies according to what sample you are studying. For example for simple hydrocarbons like IPA the response time is short (<2 s) however for more complex oils, such as an essential oil, the response time may be 10 to 15 seconds.

14.
Q: Will the sensors get contaminated after long usage?

A: The lifetime of the sensors will depend upon what you are using them for. We have not studied corrosive analytes, such as HF, in house and would not advise this. However at Cyrano Sciences we are still using sensor arrays that are over a year old.

15.
Q: How specific and quantitative is it? For example, can acetone concentrations be measured? Can it differentiate between, say, acetone and acetic acid?

A: The Cyranose 320 will readily differentiate between acetone and acetic acid, please refer to our application notes for more details on the specificity. The Cyranose 320 is not designed to be quantitative. Initial studies have shown that our sensors respond linearly to many analytes. The Cyranose 320 has been designed as a tool that has been geared towards the quick 'smell and tell' applications. However you could train the Cyranose 320 on different concentrations of fragrance added to a washing powder (for example 0, 15, 25, 30, 50%). Then you could use the instrument to ensure that the right ammount of fragrance had been added in your process.

16.
Q: If they do get contaminated how do we replace only the sensor part of the chip?

A: The sensor chip is a module that can be replaced in the Cyranose 320.

17.
Q: Will the device work inside water tanks and other highly aqueous environments?

A: For this application we would recommend you contact us to discuss your specific needs. There are solutions to the problem that we can provide.

18.
Q: How will I know if this works for my application?

A: Please look at our application notes or contact with your specific needs and we will discuss with you your needs and the application.

19.
Q: Isn't your technology sensitive to water like conducting polymers?

A: One of the advantages of PCS technology is the enormous selection of polymers that we can use to make our sensors. At Cyrano Sciences we do not synthesize our polymers in-house but purchase commercially available polymers and combine them with the conducting particles to manufacture polymer composite sensors. This allows us to choose our polymers from a huge library of well-characterized materials with vastly different chemical properties, allowing us to choose sensor materials that are not responsive to water and thus insensitive to humid environments. Likewise this can be applied to choosing sensors with affinities for alcohol groups, ester, aromatics etc. This has enabled us to chose an array of sensors that will be able to discriminate between many different compounds based on much different chemistry.

20.
Q: What is the main difference between your technology and Metal Oxide Sensors?

A: From a performance standpoint MO sensors can detect fixed gases (O2, Cl2, H2, NO, etc...) whereas our polymer composite sensors are insensitive to these gases. Unlike PC sensors MO sensors typically need to be thermostated at high temperatures. This requires more power than our polymer composite sensors and hence they have traditionally been incorporated into large bench top machines.

21.
Q: Can the Cyranose 320 be used to detect chemical or biological warfare agents?

A: Testing is currently underway to confirm the C320's ability to detect chemical warfare agents and anthrax. The estimated detection limits of the C320 fall within JCAD specifications for various blood, blister and nerve agents. Previous work with bacteria indicates that the C320 has the ability to discriminate between different bacteria. For further information, please contact Cyrano Sciences at or .

22.
Q: Where can I get a demonstration of the Cyranose 320?

A: Come visit us at our next event or contact us to visit our offices in Pasadena, CA.