Semiconducting metal oxide based gas sensors usually operate in the temperature range 200–500 °C. In this paper, we present a new WO3 thin film based gas sensor for H2 and C2H5OH, operating at 150 °C. Nanostructured WO3 thin films were synthesized by thermal evaporation method. The properties of the as-deposited films were modified by annealing in air at 300 °C and 400 °C. \ud \ud Various analytical techniques such as AFM, TEM, XPS, XRD and Raman spectroscopy have been employed to characterize their properties. A clear indication from TEM and XRD analysis is that the as-deposited WO3 films are highly amorphous and no improvement is observed in the crystallinity of the films after annealing at 300 °C. Annealing at 400 °C significantly improved the crystalline properties of the films with the formation of about 5 nm grains. The films annealed at 300 °C show no response to C2H5OH (ethanol) and a little response to H2, with maximum response obtained at 280 °C. The films annealed at 400 °C show a very good response to H2 and a moderate response to C2H5OH (ethanol) at 150 °C. XPS analysis revealed that annealing of the WO3 thin films at 400 °C produces a significant change in stoichiometry, increasing the number of oxygen vacancies in the film, which is highly beneficial for gas sensing. \ud \ud Our results demonstrate that gas sensors with significant performance at low operating temperatures can be obtained by annealing the WO3 films at 400 °C and optimizing the crystallinity and nanostructure of the as-deposited films
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