rod goodman

Biographical Sketch

Research Interests

Curriculum Vitae (pdf)

Publication List (pdf)

Online Publications

PhD Alumni

Contact Information




Rodney M. Goodman B.Sc., Ph.D., C.Eng., SMIEEE, FIEE.

The Electronic Nose

Download the Nose Presentation here

nose chipThe silicon nose is a multi-disciplinary project that involves chemistry, biology, and electronics. Developing a functional model of the mammalian olfactory sense is arguably the greatest intellectual frontier in chemical sensing, and electronic information processing. General olfaction remains elusive for several reasons: in particular the lack of realistic biological models, the availability of practical chemical sensors that function in a manner similar to biological receptors, and the development of neuromorphic silicon architectures that model neural processing. Our ultimate goal is an understanding of the biological architecture of general olfaction, and just as importantly the construction of a single chip neuromorphic electronic silicon nose capable of odor classification and location.
At Caltech, an array based electronic nose technology was developed by Nate Lewis and Bob Grubbs in the Division of Chemistry. The technology uses sensors mixed with carbon black to make them conductive. The polymers swell with an odorant and their resistance changes. An array of different polymers swell to different degrees giving a signature of the odorant.  This technology has been commercialized by Cyrano Sciences ( and a handheld electronic nose has been launched as a product. My group has been the electronics team on the project. At Caltech we have advanced the technology by producing chips with arrays of thousands of sensors on CMOS VLSI substrates. The chips are standard CMOS with a post-processing electroless gold deposition step that forms the sensor contacts. In addition, we have built robots that use these nose chips to perform chemical plume tracing and odor localization. Both single and multiple collaborative robots have been developed which can reliably trace an odor to its source and map the extent of the plume. Ultimately, one can envision swarms of such robots “hunting down” the source of a hazardous waste leak or chemical/biological attack. The Cyranose 320 has been tested by the Army and has shown that it can reliably detect most chemical agents at levels below IDLH (Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health), and we are currently working to miniaturize the system so that it can be worn as a badge or embedded in a gas mask filter.


back to Neuromorphic Systems