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We all want to know how many harmful substances there are in our food, what substances a drug contains and whether our furniture has too much formaldehyde. The methods developed by metrologists at Saarland University ensure that transportable gas chromatographs can detect the tiniest traces of harmful substances, as the team led by Professor Schütze specializes in making artificial sensory organs ever more sensitive and accurate. Mobile devices in particular are set to benefit from optimizing detectors for gas chromatographs. The engineers from Saarland University are thus keen to make useful contacts with gas chromatograph manufacturers at HANNOVER MESSE.

Whether in medicine, food chemistry, biology, environmental analysis or forensics, the new analysis technology reveals what mixtures contain and how much. "Our technology makes it possible to detect short gas pulses with a high level of precision and selectively analyze tiny quantities of gas for the substances they contain," explains Tilman Sauerwald from the Department of Measuring Technology. This technology will even enable diagnosis of lung cancer from exhaled air. “Our sensors are highly sensitive. We're developing them to such an advanced level that we can selectively measure ever lower concentrations. At the moment, we can already detect 100 femtograms, which is less than one trillionth of a gram," says Sauerwald, who is coordinating the group’s work in this area.