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Gas sensors based on thick films of semi-conducting single walled carbon nanotubes

Yann Battie, Olivier Ducloux, Philippe Thobois, Nelly Dorval, Jean Sébastien Lauret, Brigitte Attal-Trétout and Annick Loiseau, Carbon, 49, 3544-3552 (2011)

A comparative study was made of sorted semi-conducting single walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) films and unsorted SWCNT films for gas sensing applications. The transmission line method is used to monitor separately the SWCNTs film resistance and the contact resistance between electrodes and the SWCNTs, thus revealing that the sensing mechanism mainly relies on a modification of the tube conductivity during gas exposure. The fabricated sensors demonstrate a detection limit of 20 ppb NO2 and 600 ppb NH3 mainly attributed to experimental setup limitations. Moreover, semi-conducting nanotubes happened to be 2.5 times more sensitive to NH3 than unsorted ones, thus proving that selectivity can be improved by sorting the SWCNTs. The temperature dependence of the sensor sensitivity was studied, and a good agreement was found between experimental results and the Langmuir adsorption model.

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