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Mobile Phone Based Chemical Sensors: Subsystem

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Discuss about the Mobile Phone Based Chemical Sensors for Subsystem.



Sensors are basically an “electronic component”, “module” or “subsystem” that are mainly used for detecting the changes or some event that are taking place in the environment. After detecting the changes, it sends the information to some other electronic device for the purpose of monitoring, storing and detecting. Use of sensors can be seen in the gadgets that are being used in a daily basis. Not only on the daily items that are used but sensors also help in detecting the “temperature”, “pressure” and also to measure something. This essay is going to discuss about the use of mobile technology in the chemical sensors. By the use of mobile phones for the purpose of sensing chemicals has greatly helped in the advancement of the todays world. Chemical sensors (Edmonds, 2013) are the devices used for collecting information regarding the compositions of the chemical present in the environment. The information that is provided is the measurement of the chemical concertation in the environment and is also used for identification of the chemical.

The use of smartphones for the detection of harmful chemicals was started by NASA. They wanted to use the smartphones as a chemical sensor. By inventing one such device will not only help in creating of more develop type of smartphone based chemical sensor (Li et al.,2012). One of the scientist of “NASA Ames research centre” “Jing Li” had created a sensor that was responding to various types of chemicals present in the gases and the environment. The employers mainly aimed at working with the iPhone. They made a chip that is of the size of a post stamp which helped in converting an iPhone into an important chemical detector. The researchers not only aimed at detecting the chemical by their name but also to detect them by their concentration, temperature and humidity (Wilson & Atkinson, 2014). They also wanted to show any location of the chemical events that are taking place by the use of the GPS on the iPhone.

One example of a mobile based chemical sensor is the “electronic nose” this was designed by NASA for the purpose of detecting and identifying the molecules of the liquids and the different types of gases. But later with some more advancement in the technology they made the device capable of detecting the chemicals and identify the compositions or molecules present in the chemical. It helped a lot in the process of “Mechanical advancement”, “detection of any kind of leaks in the fuel tanks or toxins used in the industries”, for the quick responding and easy selection”, “monitoring of the concentration of the vapour” (Sberveglieri et al., 2012). Besides being small in size it uses the wireless technology thereby helping a lot in the detection of the chemicals and their compositions. They have combined a mobile with a Nano sensor for the purpose of detecting the presence of a certain chemical and to measure the concentration which is then transmitted to the server for the further processing (Brudzewski, Osowski & Pawlowski, 2012). The sensitivity of this device is very high with the fast response and by the use of very low amount of energy.


Tiny silicon chips that acts like a nose can help in detecting the dangerous chemicals present in the environment. And by embedding the chips in the mobile phones can greatly help in the detection of the location of the gas and to measure the level of toxicity of the gas (Lee et al., 2012). It can also help in the detection of the any kinds of leak if any case e of deliberate releasing of toxins take place. A small company by taking help from the “Rhevision Inc.” has completed the 1st phase of this project and they are working on a prototype that can help in linking this sensor with the mobile phones. In another case it has been seen that a very “ultra-low cost paper” has been used for the purpose of detecting (Misiakos et al., 2014). A demonstration was done so as to show the possibility of initiating a “luminescent emission” electrochemically by the use of the output of audio as the function generator. The camera used in phones can also be used as the photodetector. This type of mobile phone based sensing helps a lot in testing process of the environment (Preechaburana et., 2012).

Another thesis explains the use of mobile phones as a standard chemical sensor. This thesis explains the ability of a standard mobile phone to be used as a chemical sensor by the process of sensing and analysing the colorimetric property of the reflected lights. The compounds that are colourless can be tested by the use of this type of sensors (Hasenfratz et al., 2012).

Development of new chemical sensors has been done by the researchers and these sensors has been deployed in mobile phones for better detection. These type of chemical sensors are small besides having a low cost. This helps a lot in detecting the toxins and the harmful chemicals present around us. This type of detection technique assists a lot in the daily life of the peoples when they are present in a questionable environmental situation. Besides this situation it can also help peoples who have to work in a condition where there is the presence of lot of harmful chemicals. This type of mobile based chemical sensors provides assistance for increasing the safety aspects. Besides various entertainment activity performed in the cell phones it also can help in sending reports to fast responders regarding any type of chemical leaks.



Brudzewski, K., Osowski, S., & Pawlowski, W. (2012). Metal oxide sensor arrays for detection of explosives at sub-parts-per million concentration levels by the differential electronic nose. Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, 161(1), 528-533.

Edmonds, T. E. (2013). Chemical sensors. Springer Science & Business Media.

Hasenfratz, D., Saukh, O., Sturzenegger, S., & Thiele, L. (2012). Participatory air pollution monitoring using smartphones. Mobile Sensing, 1, 1-5.

Lee, H., Chen, T., Li, J., Yang, K. Y., Jeon, S., Painter, O., & Vahala, K. J. (2012). Chemically etched ultrahigh-Q wedge-resonator on a silicon chip. Nature Photonics, 6(6), 369-373.

Li, J., Yu, G., Lu, Y., Hsiung, C., Hannon, A., Kim, D., & Dennis, S. (2012, October). Nanotechnology based cell-all phone-sensors for extended network chemical sensing. In Sensors, 2012 IEEE (pp. 1-4). IEEE.

Misiakos, K., Raptis, I., Makarona, E., Botsialas, A., Salapatas, A., Oikonomou, P., ... & Sopanen, M. (2014). All-silicon monolithic Mach-Zehnder interferometer as a refractive index and bio-chemical sensor. Optics express, 22(22), 26803-26813.

Preechaburana, P., Gonzalez, M. C., Suska, A., & Filippini, D. (2012). Surface plasmon resonance chemical sensing on cell phones. Angewandte Chemie, 124(46), 11753-11756.

Sberveglieri, G., Concina, I., Comini, E., Falasconi, M., Ferroni, M., & Sberveglieri, V. (2012). Synthesis and integration of tin oxide nanowires into an electronic nose. Vacuum, 86(5), 532-535.

Wilson, W. C., & Atkinson, G. M. (2014). Passive wireless sensor applications for NASA’s extreme aeronautical environments. IEEE Sensors Journal, 14(11), 3745-3753.


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