Abstract

Breath analysis can be a valuable, noninvasive tool for the clinical diagnosis of a number of pathological conditions. The detection of ammonia in exhaled breath is of particular interest for it has been linked to kidney malfunction and peptic ulcers. Pulsed cavity ringdown spectroscopy in the mid-IR region has developed into a sensitive analytical technique for trace gas analysis. A gas analyzer based on a pulsed mid-IR quantum cascade laser operating near 970cm1 has been developed for the detection of ammonia levels in breath. We report a sensitivity of 50 parts per billion with a 20 s time resolution for ammonia detection in breath with this system. The challenges and possible solutions for the quantification of ammonia in human breath by the described technique are discussed.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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