Scientists have developed a new breath monitoring technique that may help
doctors detect respiratory disease like asthma.
The team of scientists who developed the laser light technique is from JILA,
a joint institute of the National Institute of Standards and Technology
(NIST) and the University of Colorado (CU) at Boulder.
“This technique can give a broad picture of many different molecules in the
breath all at once,” says Jun ye, fellow of JILA and NIST, and lead
researcher of the study.
Their study on the technique, called cavity-enhanced direct optical
frequency comb spectroscopy, involved participants breathing into an optical
cavity, where laser light sampled the entire volume of the cavity. A
comparison of the air coming in and going out of the cavity was able to
distinguish the molecules present in the breath from the start.
Although the technique has not been evaluated in clinical trials, monitoring
breath for biomarkers of respiratory disease could eventually become the
ultimate non-invasive detection procedure.