Microchimica Acta

, 185:563 | Cite as

Orthogonal gas sensor arrays by chemoresistive material design

  • Nicolay J. Pineau
  • Julia F. Kompalla
  • Andreas T. GüntnerEmail author
  • Sotiris E. Pratsinis
Original Paper


Gas sensor arrays often lack discrimination power to different analytes and robustness to interferants, limiting their success outside of research laboratories. This is primarily due to the widely sensitive (thus weakly-selective) nature of the constituent sensors. Here, the effect of orthogonality on array accuracy and precision by selective sensor design is investigated. Therefore, arrays of (2–5) selective and non-selective sensors are formed by systematically altering array size and composition. Their performance is evaluated with 60 random combinations of ammonia, acetone and ethanol at ppb to low ppm concentrations. Best analyte predictions with high coefficients of determination (R2) of 0.96 for ammonia, 0.99 for acetone and 0.88 for ethanol are obtained with an array featuring high degree of orthogonality. This is achieved by using distinctly selective sensors (Si:MoO3 for ammonia and Si:WO3 for acetone together with Si:SnO2) that improve discrimination power and stability of the regression coefficients. On the other hand, arrays with collinear sensors (Pd:SnO2, Pt:SnO2 and Si:SnO2) hardly improve gas predictions having R2 of 0.01, 0.86 and 0.28 for ammonia, acetone and ethanol, respectively. Sometimes they even exhibited lower coefficient of determination than single sensors as a Si:MoO3 sensor alone predicts ammonia better with a R2 of 0.68.

Graphical abstract

Conventional arrays (red) with weakly-selective sensors span a significantly smaller volume in the analyte space than arrays containing distinctly-selective sensors (orthogonal array, green). Orthogonal arrays feature better accuracy and precision than conventional arrays in mixtures of ammonia, acetone and ethanol.


Gas sensor Ethanol Acetone Ammonia SnO2 MoO3 WO3 Flame spray pyrolysis Electronic nose 



This study was financially supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (Grant No.170729 & 159763) and by an ETH Research Grant (No. ETH-21 18-1).

Compliance with ethical standards

The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

604_2018_3104_MOESM1_ESM.docx (5.9 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 5.86 mb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicolay J. Pineau
    • 1
  • Julia F. Kompalla
    • 1
  • Andreas T. Güntner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sotiris E. Pratsinis
    • 1
  1. 1.Particle Technology Laboratory, Department of Mechanical and Process EngineeringETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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