TOKYO—Toshiba Corporation (TOKYO: 6502) developed a compact, high-sensitivity odor sensor that detects specific odor, for on-site maintenance and inspection of social infrastructure facilities. Using a quartz crystal resonator (QCR) *1 based compact and inexpensive sensor, and proprietary technology that evenly coats a thin film of a metal organic framework (MOF)*2, which well absorbs specific odors, Toshiba has realized high-sensitivity detection performance for the sensor, although it is less expensive and smaller than conventional analyzers with a volume ratio of less than few tenths in comparison.
Recently, Toshiba has applied this technology to musty odor that arise in drinking water sources and tap water, and succeeded to detect 2-methylisoborneol (“2-MIB”), the main cause of such odors, with a concentration of 0.2ppbv (2 parts per 10 billion) in air. This level of performance satisfies the standards for an aqueous concentration of 10ng/L and under (1g per 100 million within 1L of water), which represents the water quality standards for 2-MIB based on the Waterworks Act of Japan*3.
The detection of musty odor typically requires the installation of a large analyzer. Additionally, inspections based on sensory evaluations that depend on the experience and olfactory sense of the inspector are also conducted in great number. The utilization of this technology in odor anomaly inspections conducted at purification plants is anticipated to result in greater automation and efficiency of musty odor inspections at those plants. Additionally, coating the sensor with different types of thin film makes it possible to apply this technology in sensors for detecting non-musty off-odors, such as oily, scorched, or metallic odors. Going forward, this technology holds the promise of being applied to anomaly inspections in the areas of quality and production control at food and beverage manufacturers in addition to the maintenance and inspection of social infrastructure facilities.
Toshiba will announce the details of this technology at the 103rd CSJ Annual Meeting, which will be held on the Noda Campus of the Tokyo University of Science starting on March 22.