American Chemical Society
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Development of Morphologically engineered Flower-like Hafnium-Doped ZnO with Experimental and DFT Validation for Low-Temperature and Ultrasensitive Detection of NOX Gas

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posted on 2022-04-22, 19:08 authored by Srijita Nundy, Sankar Ganesh Ramaraj, Manoharan Muruganathan, Aritra Ghosh, Asif Ali Tahir, Tapas Kumar Mallick, Joon-Shik Park, Hoo-Jeong Lee
Substitutional doping and different nanostructures of ZnO have rendered it an effective sensor for the detection of volatile organic compounds in real-time atmosphere. However, the low selectivity of ZnO sensors limits their applications. Herein, hafnium (Hf)-doped ZnO (Hf-ZnO) nanostructures are developed by the hydrothermal method for high selectivity of hazardous NOX gas in the atmosphere, substantially portraying the role of doping concentration on the enhancement of structural, optical, and sensing behavior. ZnO microspheres with 5% Hf doping showed excellent sensing and detected 22 parts per billion (ppb) NOX gas in the atmosphere, within 24 s, which is much faster than ZnO (90 s), and rendered superior sensing ability (S = 67) at a low temperature (100 °C) compared to ZnO (S = 40). The sensor revealed exceptional stability under humid air (S = 55 at 70% RH), suggesting a potential of 5% Hf-ZnO as a new stable sensing material. Density functional theory (DFT) and other characterization analyses revealed that the high sensing activity of 5% Hf-ZnO is attributed to the accessibility of more adsorption sites arising due to charge distortion, increased oxygen vacancies concentration, Lewis acid base, porous morphology, small particle size (5 nm), and strong bond interaction amidst NO2 molecule with ZnO-Hf-Ovacancy sites, resulting from the substitution of the host cation (Zn2+) with doping cation (Hf4+).