Thursday, January 28, 2010

Inexpensive Nanostructured Zinc Oxide Sensor for Hydrogen and Other Gases Disclosed by Korean Scientists at the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute

FIG. 1 is a schematic perspective view of a zinc nanostructured gas sensor by Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute

Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (Daejeon-city, KR) in U.S. Patent Application 20100012919 divulges a gas sensor with  zinc oxide nano-structures and it method of fabrication. The high-sensitivity gas sensor capable of detecting a variety of gases using zinc oxide nano-structures and metal islands coated on the zinc oxide nano-structures. Gases can be detected at comparatively high detecting temperatures.

Each zinc oxide nano-structure may have a structure of a nano-wire or nano-rod. Each zinc oxide nano-structure may have a diameter of about several tens to several hundreds of nm, for example, from about 10 to 900 nm. In addition, each zinc oxide nano-structure may have a length of several hundreds of nm to several tens of .quadrature., for example, from about 500 nm to 50.quadrature..

Recently, an environmental problem known as global warming which is caused by the excessive use of fossil fuels has become a serious problem. In addition, people's awareness to the problem of the exhaustion of fossil fuels has increased. To overcome these problems, the development of hydrogen energy which is one kind of alternative energy and the development of a sensor of contamination gas caused by environmental pollution have rapidly progressed. Currently, many technologies for using hydrogen energy have been proposed. However, hydrogen energy is highly explosive, unlike existing energies. Thus, a safety device should be employed when the hydrogen energy is used. To widely use hydrogen energy, a hydrogen detecting technology is required.

In the gas sensor according to inventors Rae-Man Park,  Sang-Hyeob Kim, Jonghyurk Park and Sunglyul Maeng, a plurality of metal islands are formed on a zinc oxide nano-structure and are independently separated from one another on the zinc oxide nano-structure. The sensitivity to a gas is improved by the metal islands such that a variety of kinds of gases can be detected. A wet manufacturing method is used to form the metal islands on the surface of the zinc oxide nano-structure. The metal islands are formed of one material selected from the group consisting of platinum (Pt), palladium (Pd), nickel (Ni), and cobalt (Co). The high-sensitivity gas sensor can be fabricated with low costs using a simpler fabrication process.

FIG. 3 is a flowchart illustrating Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute’s method of fabricating a gas sensor 

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