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A sensor for the in situ detection and measurement of low concentrations of gaseous mercury is presented. The sensor is based upon a dual delay line SAW oscillator with a gold-coated delay path. Gaseous mercury interacts rigorously with the gold film, forming an amalgam. The resulting increase in film mass is manifested as a decrease in oscillation frequency. Measurement of gas concentration is achieved by differentiating the sensor response at room temperature or by operating the sensing element at a temperature where gas-film reaction kinetics result in equilibrium rates of mercury amalgamation and desorption. This equilibrium value of amalgamated mercury is highly dependent upon the gas concentration. Thus, the delay line oscillation frequency is a sensitive measure of gaseous mercury concentration. Responses of this sensor to gaseous mercury concentrations in the ppb range are presented. The sensor response features are analyzed in terms of response shape, response magnitude, response time, and linearity at 25/spl deg/C and 200/spl deg/C.