Detecting Hydrogen Gas Quickly And Cheaply

Scientists have fabricated a highly selective sensor that can detect hydrogen gas in under five seconds.

AsianScientist (May 29, 2018) – A research team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), South Korea, has invented a high-performance and cost-effective hydrogen sensor. Their work is published in Small.

Hydrogen gas is widely considered to be one of the most promising next-generation energy resources. It is also an important material for various industrial applications, such as hydrogen-cooled systems, petroleum refinement and metallurgical processes.

However, hydrogen, which is highly flammable, is colorless and odorless and thus difficult to detect with human senses. Therefore, developing hydrogen gas sensors with high sensitivity, fast response, high selectivity and good stability is important for the growing hydrogen economy.

In the present study, a team of scientists led by Professors Park In-gyu and Jung Yeon-Sik from KAIST successfully fabricated a nanostructured high-performance hydrogen gas sensor.

The sensor was based on a palladium-decorated silicon nanomesh structure made using a polystyrene nanosphere self-assembly method, which could be an alternative fabrication approach for achieving uniform and well-ordered nanopatterns with minimum sub-ten nanometer dimensions. The research team said that the small dimensions of the silicon enhanced the palladium-gating effect and thus dramatically improved the sensitivity of their sensor to hydrogen.

Indeed, their sensor achieved dramatically greater hydrogen gas sensitivity compared with a silicon thin film sensor without nanopatterns. Furthermore, a buffered oxide etchant treatment of the silicon nanomesh structure resulted in an additional performance boost as the nanomesh structures were suspended over the substrate.

The sensor device shows a fast hydrogen response (response time less than five seconds) and ten times higher selectivity for hydrogen gas than other gases. They also demonstrated that the sensor was stable and produced reliable responses in both dry and high-humidity ambient environments.

The article can be found at: Gao et al. (2018) Palladium-Decorated Silicon Nanomesh Fabricated by Nanosphere Lithography for High Performance, Room Temperature Hydrogen Sensing.


Source: Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.
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