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Characterization of SnO2 gas sensors. A spectroscopic and electrical study of thick films from commercial and lab prepared samples

By A. Chiorino, G. Ghiotti, M.C. Carotta, G. Martinelli and M.Merli


The aim of this work has been to obtain a better understanding of the influence of both morphology and palladium addition on the electrical and electronic properties of thick SnO2 films. Two different SnO2 powders, one commercial and one prepared in the laboratory, both pure and after Pd addition (0.36 Pd wt.%), have been studied. The morphology of the samples has been analyzed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), the texture by volumetric measurements. Films made by commercial samples show particles with sharp borders and inhomogeneous in size (from 20 to 200 nm), while in the laboratory films particles with indented borders and very homogeneous in size (30 nm) are present. Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) and UV-Vis spectroscopies together with impedance and resistivity measurements have been employed to provide information on the electronic and electrical properties of the four samples in wet air or in the presence of reducing gases. In particular, we have investigated the different responses to CH4 of the four films in the presence of wet air at 350 and 450oC. The morphological differences have been proposed to be at the origin of the different electronic phenomena showed by the commercial and laboratory powders. Palladium addition results in a resistivity increase on both commercial and laboratory samples, in wet air, but the effect is particularly enhanced for the laboratory sample. The response to 1000 ppm CH4 admission (measured by the resistivity decrease) becomes greater after palladium addition, but while commercial samples, both pure and with addition of Pd, show a higher response at 450oC, on the laboratory-prepared sample the Pd addition also lowers the temperatures of maximum sensibility from 450 down to 350oC

Year: 1997
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