A nanotechnology breath sensor, developed by Pratsinis’ team, is capable of detecting diabetes and can immediately tell if someone has Type I diabetes, a new report has found.

According to a report published in ACS’ Analytical Chemistry journal, the nanotech breath sensor can be used by emergency room doctors to determine whether a patient has developed diabetic ketoacidosis.

The sensitive acetone detector was developed by directly depositing a thin film of semiconducting, mixed ceramic nanoparticles between a set of gold electrodes, from a flame plume.

The device acts like an electrical resistor, with its resistance being reduced when it gets hit with a puff of acetone-filled air, allowing more electricity to pass between the electrodes.

The new sensor can detect acetone in extremely moist air and is sensitive enough to detect acetone at 20 parts per billion, a concentration that is 90 times lower than the level at which it can be found in the breath of diabetic patients.

The technology may also be used by diabetics, in their own homes in the future, to determine whether they need more insulin, according to medicalnewstoday.com.

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious complication that occurs when diabetics do not take enough insulin.