Document Type



Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor's Name

Jose Almirall

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Anthony Decaprio

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Anthony McGoron

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


breath analysis, headspace analysis, VOCs, cigarette smokers, marijuana, capillary microextraction of volatiles (CMV), GC/MS

Date of Defense



The aim of this research was to demonstrate the potential of the novel pre-concentration device, capillary microextraction of volatiles (CMV), for breath analysis. The CMV offers dynamic sampling of volatile organic compounds with its simple coupling to a GC inlet for GC/MS analysis, avoiding expensive thermal desorption instrumentation needed for sorbent tubes, as well as an increased surface area over a single SPME fiber. CMV collectively identified 119 compounds in the breath of 13 self-reported smokers and 7 nonsmokers. The presence and intensity of twelve compounds were used to classify all the nonsmokers 100% of the time using Principal Component Analysis to elucidate the groupings. In some cases, nicotine was not detected in smokers and they were confused with the nonsmokers. Nicotine was detected in the breath of 69% of smokers with an average mass of 143 ± 31 pg for cigarette smokers from the approximate 5 L sample of breath collected. The successful use of the CMV sampler and preconcentration of breath to distinguish between smokers and nonsmokers served as a proof of concept for future applications of the CMV for detection of marijuana smokers’ breath for impaired driver management.





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