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Gas sensitivity comparison of polymer coated SAW and STW resonators operating at the same acoustic wave length

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5 Author(s)
Avramov, I.D. ; Inst. of Solid State Phys., Bulgarian Acad. of Sci., Sofia, Bulgaria ; Rapp, M. ; Kurosawa, S. ; Krawczak, P.
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Results from systematic gas sensing experiments on polymer coated surface-transverse-wave (STW) and surface-acoustic-wave (SAW) based two-port resonators on rotated Y-cut quartz, operating at the same acoustic wavelength of 7.22 μm, are presented. The acoustic devices are coated with chemosensitive films of different viscoelastic properties and thicknesses, such as solid hexamethyldisiloxane (HMDSO), semisolid styrene (ST), and soft allyl alcohol (AA). The sensor sensitivities to vapors of different chemical analytes are automatically measured in a sensor head, evaluated, and compared. It is shown that thin HMDSO- and ST-coated STW sensors are up to 3.8 times more sensitive than their SAW counterparts, while SAW devices coated with thick soft AA-films are up to 3.6 times more sensitive than the STW ones. This implies that SAWs are more suitable for operation with soft coatings while STWs perform better with solid and semisolid films. A close-to-carrier phase noise evaluation shows that the vapor flow homogeneity, the analyte concentration, its sorption dynamics, and the sensor oscillator design are the major limiting factors for the sensor noise and its resolution. A well designed ST-coated 700 MHz STW sensor provides a 178 kHz sensor signal at a 630 ppm concentration of tetra-chloroethylene and demonstrates short-term stability of 3×10-9/s which results in a sensor resolution of about 7 parts per billion (ppb).

Published in:

Sensors Journal, IEEE  (Volume:2 ,  Issue: 3 )