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Quantitative Assessment of Vapor Molecule Adsorption to Solid Surfaces by Flow Rate Monitoring in Microfluidic Channels

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journal contribution
posted on 02.10.2019 by Faramarz Hossein-Babaei, Ali Hooshyar Zare, Mohsen Gharesi
Measuring parameters related to gas adsorption on the effective surfaces of solid samples is important in catalyst studies. Further attention on the subject has appeared due to the materials and methods required to concentrate the gaseous biomarkers for detection. The conventional methods are mainly based on the volumetric and gravimetric analyses, which are applicable to bulk samples. No standard method has yet been provided for such measurements on thin films, which are the most commonly used samples for material screening. Here, a novel method is presented for the adsorption coefficient measurement on thin-film samples. This method comprises coating of the inner walls of a microfluidic channel with the thin film under test. The recorded diffusion rates for a trace gas along this microchannel are compared with the solutions of the adsorption–diffusion equation of the channel for determining the adsorption coefficient of the gas molecule to the inner walls of the channel. The high ratio of surface-to-volume in such channels magnifies the gas sorption effects and improves accuracy. The method is fast, versatile, and cost-effective, allowing measurements at different temperatures and atmospheric pressures. The adsorption coefficients of different isomers of butanol on poly­(methyl methacrylate) sheets, zinc oxide thick films, and gold thin films are determined as examples.