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Extraordinary performance of semiconducting metal oxide gas sensors using dielectric excitation

Published

Author(s)

Andrei A. Kolmakov, Radislav A. Potyrailo, Steven Go, Daniel Sexton, Xiaxi Li, Nasr Alkadi, Bruce Amm, Richard St-Pierre, Brian Scherer, Majid Nayeri, Guang Wu, Christopher Collazo-Davila, Doug Forman, Chris Calvert, Craig Mack, Philip Mcconnell

Abstract

Electrical response of metal oxide semiconducting (MOS) materials to gases was discovered 70 years ago [1] and miniature low-cost MOS chemiresistors became the most popular gas sensors when chemical selectivity is not required [2, 3]. When discrimination between different gaseous species is essential, traditional analytical instruments is the choice in established applications that range from environmental surveillance to homeland protection [4, 5]. Those bulky instruments are often inconvenient in a field, even with the reduced carrier gas, vacuum, or power demands [6, 7], but are an unavoidable alternative to existing sensors [8]. However, in emerging applications of wearable and unattended sensing, selectivity advantage of traditional analytical technologies is negated by requirements for small size, low weight, low power, and no consumables, calling for non-traditional concepts for selective gas sensing of multiple gases [9]. Lack of gas discrimination of modern MOS chemiresistors, even with their ultra-low power consumption designs, prevents their adoption for emerging applications where gas discrimination is the top priority [10, 11]. Here, we report an excitation methodology of MOS sensors that enables discrimination between individual gases, their quantification in mixtures, and - as an extra advantage vs. classic non-linear resistive response [3] - provides sensor response over six orders of magnitude of gas concentrations. These exceptional sensing capabilities are achieved by monitoring the high-frequency shoulder of the dielectric relaxation spectrum of MOS materials. This measurement principle provides a framework for tuning gas responses of semiconducting sensing materials and enables selective and broad dynamic range gas monitoring using only a single sensor. We demonstrated this sensor excitation methodology in unobtrusive device architectures and field-validated our systems for greenhouse gases and industrial hazards in a wireless sensor network,
Citation
Nature Electronics
Volume
3
Issue
5

Citation

Kolmakov, A. , Potyrailo, R. , Go, S. , Sexton, D. , Li, X. , Alkadi, N. , Amm, B. , St-Pierre, R. , Scherer, B. , Nayeri, M. , Wu, G. , Collazo-Davila, C. , Forman, D. , Calvert, C. , Mack, C. and Mcconnell, P. (2020), Extraordinary performance of semiconducting metal oxide gas sensors using dielectric excitation, Nature Electronics, [online], https://doi.org/10.1038/s41928-020-0402-3 (Accessed July 31, 2021)
Created May 10, 2020, Updated February 23, 2021