U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Controlled Odor Mimic Permeation Systems for Olfactory Training and Field Testing

NCJ Number
Jove-Journal of Visualized Experiments Issue: 167 Dated: 2021
Date Published

This article describes the features and functions of the Controlled Odor Mimic Permeation System (COMPS), which is a simple, field-portable, low-cost method of odor delivery for olfactory testing and training.



COMPS are composed of an odorant of interest on an absorbent material sealed inside of a permeable polymer bag. The permeable layer allows for a constant release of the odorant over a given amount of time. The permeable bag is further stored in a secondary, impermeable bag. The double-containment procedure allows for equilibration of the odorant from the permeable bag but within the impermeable outer layer, resulting in an instant and reproducible source of odorant vapor upon removal from the outer packaging. COMPS are used in both olfactory testing for experimental scenarios and for olfactory detection training, such as with detection canines. COMPS can be used to contain a wide range of odorants (e.g., narcotics powders) and provide a controlled release of the associated odorants. Odor availability from COMPS is expressed in terms of permeation rate (i.e., the rate of the odorant vapor released from a COMPS per unit time) and is typically measured by gravimetric means. The permeation rate for a given mass or volume of odorant can be adjusted as needed by varying the bag thickness, surface area, and/or polymer type. The available odor concentration from a COMPS can also be measured by headspace analysis techniques such as solid phase microextraction with gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (SPME-GC/MS). (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2021