Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Brent Foy (Committee Member), Ivan Medvedev (Advisor), Doug Petkie (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


The ability to quantify trace chemicals in human breath enables the possibility of identifying breath biomarkers to aid in diagnosis. The vast majority of the studies in the analytical breath analysis rely on GC-MS techniques for quantification of the human breath composition1,2,3,4. THz spectroscopy of breath is rapid, sensitive, and highly specific molecular identification in complex mixtures containing 10-100 analytes with near `absolute' specificity. THz spectroscopic breath analyzers require chemical preconcentration. A newly developed custom preconcentrator was constructed and compared in its performance to a commercial system. Unlike the commercial counterpart, the new system does not require cryogenic liquids, is compact, and offers significant advantages in terms of ease of operation and facilitates further development of THz breath sensors. Its preconcentration efficiency was assessed. The THz spectrometer coupled with the custom preconcentrator demonstrated first THz detection of breath isoprene, a chemical not detected with the commercial device.

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Department or Program

Department of Physics

Year Degree Awarded


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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Physics Commons