Scientific Results

Inverse opal structure of SnO2 and SnO2:Zn for gas sensing

Year: 2005

Authors: Baratto C., Faglia G., Sberveglieri G., Sutti A., Calestani G., Dionigi C.

Autors Affiliation: Dept. of Chemistry and Physics, CNR-INFM, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy; Dept. of General Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, University of Parma, Parma, Italy; Institute for Nanostructured Materials Study, CNR, INSTM Bologna, Italy

Abstract: In the present work we propose a low cost synthetic sol-gel route that allows to produce high quality oxide nanostructures with inverse opal architecture which, transferred on alumina substrates provided with Pt interdigitated contacts and heater, are tested as gas sensing devices. An opal template of sintered monodisperse polystyrene spheres was filled with alcoholic solutions of metal oxide precursors and transferred on the alumina substrate. The polystyrene template was removed by thermal treatment, leading to the simultaneous sintering of the oxide nanoparticles. Beside SnO2, a binary oxide well known for gas sensing application, a Zn containing ternary solid solution (SnO2:Zn, with Zn 10% molar content) was taken into account for sensor preparation. The obtained high quality macro and meso-porous structures, characterized by different techniques, were tested for pollutant(CO, NO2) and interfering(methanol) gases, showing that very good detection can be reached through the increase of surface area offered by the inverse opal structure and the tailoring of the chemical composition. The electrical characterization performed on the tin dioxide based sensors shows an enhancement of the relative response towards NO2 at low temperatures in comparison with conventional SnO2 sensors obtained with sputtering technique. The addition of Zn increases the separation between the operating temperatures for reducing and oxidizing gases and results in a further enhancement of the selectivity to NO2 detection.

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KeyWords: Alumina; Chemical sensors; Heat treatment; Polystyrenes; Sol-gels; Substrates, Alumina substrates; Inverse opal structures; Metal oxide precursors; Monodisperse polystyrene spheres, Tin compounds
DOI: 10.1109/ICSENS.2005.1597920

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