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Fully Inkjet-Printed Mesoporous SnO2‑Based Ultrasensitive Gas Sensors for Trace Amount NO2 Detection

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journal contribution
posted on 09.12.2020, 07:33 by Nehru Devabharathi, Arun M. Umarji, Subho Dasgupta
Printed sensors are among the most successful groups of devices within the domain of printed electronics, both in terms of their application versatility and the emerging market share. However, reports on fully printed gas sensors are rare in the literature, even though it can be an important development toward fully printed multisensor platforms for diagnostics, process control, and environmental safety-related applications. In this regard, here, we present the traditional tin oxide-based completely inkjet-printed co-continuous and mesoporous thin films with an extremely large surface-to-volume ratio and then investigate their NO2 sensing properties at low temperatures. A method known as evaporation-induced self-assembly (EISA) has been mimicked in this study using pluronic F127 (PEO106-PPO70-PEO106) as the soft templating agent and xylene as the micelle expander to obtain highly reproducible and spatially homogeneous co-continuous mesoporous crystalline SnO2 with an average pore diameter of the order of 15–20 nm. The fully printed SnO2 gas sensors thus produced show high linearity for NO2 detection, along with extremely high average response of 11,507 at 5 ppm NO2. On the other hand, the sensors show an ultralow detection limit of the order of 20 ppb with an easy to amplify response of 31. While the excellent electronic transport properties along such co-continuous, mesoporous structures are ensured by their well-connected (co-continuous) ligaments and pores (thereby ensuring high surface area and high mobility transport at the same time) and may actually be responsible for the outstanding sensor performance that has been observed, the use of an industrial printing technique ascertains the possibility of high-throughput manufacturing of such sensor units toward inexpensive and wide-range applications.

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