Researchers greenlight gas detection at room temperature
Tracking atmospheric pollution remains a vital concern for many developed countries. Because residential communities tend to cluster around industrial areas, it is necessary to have a mechanism in place for controlling harmful emissions from plants and factories. The monitoring systems incorporating multiple sensors that target individual gases. Such sensors can be used to analyze air quality both outdoors and in closed spaces.
Besides, air composition measurements are required at nuclear power plants, on submarines and space stations, and at other facilities where access to fresh air is not immediately available: If the concentration of carbon dioxide increases or a toxic substance leaks into the ventilation system, this might put the lives of personnel at risk.
Russian scientists from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) have developed for the first time a mechanism for detecting molecular hydrogen using green light to illuminate a nanocrystalline composite sensor based on zinc and indium oxides.
Until recently, gas sensors based on nanocrystalline metal oxides had operating temperatures between 300 and 500 degrees Celsius. This made them unsafe for the detection of explosive or combustible substances. Moreover, to maintain these high temperatures, a lot of power is required, making it impossible to embed such gas sensors into the circuit boards of portable devices.
The paper is published in Scientific Reports.
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