Tuning the Selectivity of Metal Oxide Gas Sensors with Vapor Phase Deposited Ultrathin Polymer Thin Films

Metal oxide gas sensors are of great interest for applications ranging from lambda sensors to early hazard detection in explosive media and leakage detection due to their superior properties with regard to sensitivity and lifetime, as well as their low cost and portability. However, the influence of ambient gases on the gas response, energy consumption and selectivity still needs to be improved and they are thus the subject of intensive research. In this work, a simple approach is presented to modify and increase the selectivity of gas sensing structures with an ultrathin polymer thin film. The different gas sensing surfaces, CuO, Al2O3/CuO and TiO2 are coated with a conformal < 30 nm Poly(1,3,5,7-tetramethyl-tetravinyl cyclotetrasiloxane) (PV4D4) thin film via solvent-free initiated chemical vapor deposition (iCVD). The obtained structures demonstrate a change in selectivity from ethanol vapor to 2-propanol vapor and an increase in selectivity compared to other vapors of volatile organic compounds. In the case of TiO2 structures coated with a PV4D4 thin film, the increase in selectivity to 2-propanol vapors is observed even at relatively low operating temperatures, starting from >200 °C. The present study demonstrates possibilities for improving the properties of metal oxide gas sensors, which is very important in applications in fields such as medicine, security and food safety.


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