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Low Power, Lightweight Nanoparticle-based Gas Sensor
JIB-3068

APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:               
Monitoring harmful hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas emissions from

ADVANTAGES:

ABSTRACT:

Researcher Alex Zettl and colleagues have developed a nanomaterials-based hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas sensor by heating a network of tungsten oxide nanoparticles with an on-chip microhotplate and monitoring network conductance, which would change in the presence of H2S. The result is a sensor fast and practical enough to be used for regular H2S monitoring to better ensure worker safety. The device can be heated with short pulses to lower power consumption without diminishing the sensor response.

The sensor platform can be used for other gases by tailoring the sensing nanomaterials to the analyte of interest. In addition, nanostructured gas sensors can be fabricated on silicon wafers to take advantage of existing manufacturing technologies.

Although H2S can be detected unaided at very low concentrations, it paralyzes the olfactory nerve at concentration levels around which H2S begins to have damaging health effects. Therefore, regular, convenient monitoring of H2S in industrial settings where it is present, such as oil and natural gas extraction and distribution and wastewater treatment, is critical to worker safety. Current sensors are electrochemical based; although power requirements are low, they do not operate well in harsh conditions such as high or low temperature or humidity. Metal oxide sensors and those operating on the principle of photoluminescence have been developed to address this concern but are too large and consume too much power to be handheld. The Berkeley Lab gas sensor is both low power and handheld, and can operate in extreme conditions.

DEVELOPMENT STAGE:  Testing conducted on a bench scale prototype of the device detected H2S as low as 1 ppm. See publication for details and results.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Mickelson, W., Sussman, A., Zettl, A. “Low-power, fast, selective nanoparticle-based hydrogen sulfide gas sensor,” Applied Physics Letters 100, 173110 (2012).

STATUS: Patent pending. Available for licensing or collaborative research.

SEE THESE OTHER BERKELEY LAB TECHNOLOGIES IN THIS FIELD:

Compact Microchip Gas Sensor, IB-2689

Nano Piano Omni Sensor, IB-2267

REFERENCE NUMBER: JIB-3068

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