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Gas Detection Using Breakdown Voltage of a Cold Pressed Thick-Layer ZnO Varistor

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Abstract:

Effects of target gas (TG) on IV characteristics of a Zinc Oxide varistor was investigated. The sensitive layer was fabricated by partial sintering of a mm-thick layer formed by low-pressure cold pressing of ZnO powder. SEM and Arrhenius method, respectively characterized the microstructure and electrical properties of the layers. The sensor was fabricated by providing Ohmic contacts, and installation of a custom-made micro-heater beneath the layer. The IV characteristics of the device at the presence of Ethanol and Oxygen were recorded using an initiated circuit. It was found that the breakdown voltage shifts to lower and higher voltages upon exposure to reducing and oxidizing gases, respectively. On the other hand, the IV curve of the device was analyzed based on a mathematical model. The model-based analysis of IV curve was fitted to the experimental data, and the semi-empirical model parameters were resulted as the fitting parameters. By application of model parameters, the steady state gas sensitivity (S = J gas/J Bair) of the device was estimated. By comparison of gas detection sensitivity of the device in resistive and varistor operation, it was found that the gas sensitivity of a ZnO varistor is one order of magnitude higher than that of ZnO resistive gas sensor. The IV characteristics of the device at different operating temperature and gas concentration were investigated. The result revealed that the device breakdown voltage and gas sensitivity strongly depends to device temperature as well as gas concentration.

Keywords: BREAKDOWN VOLTAGE; GAS SENSOR; I-V CHARACTERISTICS; ZNO VARISTOR

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1166/sl.2012.2320

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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  • The growing interest and activity in the field of sensor technologies requires a forum for rapid dissemination of important results: Sensor Letters is that forum. Sensor Letters offers scientists, engineers and medical experts timely, peer-reviewed research on sensor science and technology of the highest quality. Sensor Letters publish original rapid communications, full papers and timely state-of-the-art reviews encompassing the fundamental and applied research on sensor science and technology in all fields of science, engineering, and medicine. Highest priority will be given to short communications reporting important new scientific and technological findings.
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