Mach-Zehnder interferometer based integrated-photonic acetone sensor approaching the sub-ppm level detection limit

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The detection of acetone in the gaseous form in exhaled breath using an integrated sensor can provide an effective tool for disease diagnostics as acetone is a marker for monitoring human metabolism. An on-chip acetone gas sensor based on the principle of Mach-Zehnder interferometer is proposed and demonstrated. The sensing arm of the device is activated with a composite film of polyethyleneimine and amido-graphene oxide as the gas-sensitive adsorption layer. The composite film demonstrates good selectivity to acetone gas, can be used repeatedly, and is stable in long-term use. Room temperature operation has been demonstrated for the sensor with high sensitivity under a 20 ppm acetone environment. The detection limit can reach 0.76 ppm, making it feasible to be used for the clinical diagnosis of diabetes and the prognosis of heart failure.