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Vol. 10, Special Issue, February 2011, pp.121-130



Methane Detection by Nano ZnO Based MIM Sensor Devices



1Department of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering, Bengal Engineering and Science University, Shibpur- 711103, Howrah, India

2 IC Design and Fabrication Center, Department of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering, Jadavpur University, Kolkata- 7000032, India

*Tel.: +913326684561, fax: +913326682916

E-mail: pb_etc_besu@yahoo.com



Received: 10 October 2010   /Accepted: 11 January 2011   /Published: 8 February 2011


Abstract: Amongst various gas sensor structures developed so far probably the least investigated one is the Metal- (Active) Insulator-Metal (MIM) structure. The vertical electron transport mechanism of this structure offers high response with fast response and recovery for reducing gases like H2 and methane compared to the conventional devices with planar configurations. In this paper we report on the comparative performances of MIM sensors based on nanocrystalline-nanoporous ZnO as the active sensing layer derived by sol-gel and by the UV assisted electrochemical anodization method respectively. The sensor structures based on Pd-Ag (26 %)/ZnO/Zn were investigated in presence of five methane concentrations (0.01, 0.05, 0.1, 0.5 and 1.0 %) and in the temperature range 150 C to 300 C. The electrochemically developed ZnO showed superior performance in terms of operating temperature, response magnitude, response time and recovery time. Moreover, it showed response to much lower concentrations (like 0.01 % and 0.05 %) of methane that could not be detected by the sol-gel derived sensors. The possible reason for the superior performance of the electrochemically grown ZnO compared to the sol-gel derived one was shown to be the significantly lower grain size and appreciably high porosity. But, in spite of its promising performance the electrochemically developed MIM sensor has no choice of selection of the substrate and so it is not compatible to the standard IC technology. Therefore, it has limited applications to develop the stand-alone sensor devices. On the other hand, sol-gel derived MIM device is based on Si substrate and so, it is IC compatible and is suitable for the integrated sensor platform.


Keywords: Nanocrystalline, Nanoporous, Zinc oxide, MIM, Methane sensor, Pd-Ag catalytic contact


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