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It is essential that measurement systems provide an accurate and robust performance over a wide range of input conditions. This paper adopts Taguchi's signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) analysis to develop a robust design for the Rayleigh surface acoustic wave (SAW) gas sensing device operated in a conventional delay-line configuration. The goal of the present Taguchi design activity is to increase the sensitivity of this sensor while simultaneously reducing its variability. A time- and cost-efficient finite-element analysis method is used to investigate the effects on the sensor's response output of variations in the carbon dioxide (CO/sub 2/) gas deposited mass. The simulation results for the resonant frequency and wave mode analysis are all shown to be in good agreement with the values predicted theoretically.