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Ultra-Low-Power Alcohol Vapor Sensors Based on Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotube

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7 Author(s)
Sin, M.L.Y. ; Centre for Micro & Nano Syst., Hong Kong Chinese Univ. ; Chow, G.C.T. ; Fung, C.K.M. ; Li, W.J.
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We have demonstrated multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNTs) based sensors, which are capable of detecting alcohol vapor with ultra-low power. We fabricated the Si-substrate sensors using an AC electrophoretic technique so as to form bundled MWCNTs sensing elements between Au microelectrodes. The I-V measurement illustrates that we can activate the sensors at the Ohmic region of the sensors (at 10 muA), which is without any overheat effect. The sensors only need an ultra-low power (~1 muW) to detect the alcohol vapor. They exhibit fast, reversible and repeatable response. We have tested the response of the sensors with alcohol concentrations from 10 ppth to 400 ppth (ppth = parts per thousand). Our result shows that there is a linear relation between the resistance of the sensors and alcohol concentration. Also, we can easily reverse the sensor to the initial reference resistance by annealing them at 100-250 muA current within 6 minutes. Moreover, the sensors are selective with respect to flow from air, water vapor, and alcohol vapor. Finally, we have also studied how the temperature of the sensors affects their response towards alcohol vapor. The result shows that the performance of the sensors will deteriorate as the temperature of the sensors increase. Also, the cooling effect of the vapor is not a dominating factor in determining the response of the sensor. Based on our experiments, we prove the feasibility of turning the MWCNTs sensors into a commercialized alcohol sensor with ultra-low power requirements

Published in:

Nano/Micro Engineered and Molecular Systems, 2006. NEMS '06. 1st IEEE International Conference on

Date of Conference:

18-21 Jan. 2006