Integration of nanostructured materials with MEMS microhotplate platforms to enhance chemical sensor performance
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The development of miniaturized chemical sensors is an increasingly active area of research. Such devices, particularly when they feature low mass and low power budgets, can impact a broad range of applications including industrial process monitoring, building security and extraterrestrial exploration. Nanostructured materials, because of their high surface area, can provide critical enhancements in the performance of chemical microsensors. We have worked to integrate nanomaterial films with MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) microhotplate platforms developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in order to gain the benefits of both the materials and the platforms in high-performance chemical sensor arrays. Here, we describe our success in overcoming the challenges of integration and the benefits that we have achieved with regard to the critical sensor performance characteristics of sensor response, speed, stability and selectivity. Nanostructured metal oxide sensing films were locally deposited onto microhotplates via chemical vapor deposition and microcapillary pipetting, and conductive polymer nanoparticle films were deposited via electrophoretic patterning. All films were characterized by scanning electron microscopy and evaluated as conductometric gas sensors.
Keywordschemical sensors nanoparticles metal oxides conducting polymers MEMS
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This work was partially supported by NASA Code R. We would like to thank Richard Cavicchi for useful discussions, Mike Carrier for device design work and Jim Melvin for technical assistance.
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