Development And Performance Study Of Nanostructured Metal Oxide Gas Sensor
Parmar, Mitesh Ramanbhai
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The basic necessities to sustain life are – air, water and food. Although the harmful effects due to contaminated food or water are dangerous to life, these can be reduced/avoided by controlling the intake. Whereas, in case of air, the same amount of control cannot be exercised as there is very little, one can do in case of inhalation. Maximum damage to life is due to air contamination which can be detected and prevented by using gas sensors. The proper use of these sensors not only save lives, but also minimizes social and financial loss. The objective of this thesis work is to study and explore the use of p-type semiconducting material such as CuO, as a promising gas sensing material for organic compounds (VOCs), compatible with existing silicon fabrication technology. The Thesis consist of 7 chapters: Chapter 1 covers the general introduction about gas sensors, sensor parameters, criteria for the selection of sensing material, suitability of CuO as sensing material and a brief literature survey. The second chapter includes the selection of substrate, cleaning procedures and suitable deposition method. The deposition method used in the present thesis work is DC/RF magnetron sputtering. The reactive magnetron sputtering is employed during the deposition of CuO sensing films. It also includes basic introduction about some of the common material characterization techniques. This is followed by Chapter 3 which includes the optimization of sputtering process parameters such as applied power, working pressure, Ar-O2 ratio and substrate temperature for CuO sensing film and the effect of these on surface morphology. Information on the optimized sputtering parameters for electrode film (silver and gold) deposition has also been included in this chapter. In order to study the sensing behavior of the sensor, suitable testing set-up is necessary. This leads us to Chapter 4 that discusses the development of an in-house built sensor testing setup and its automization using MATLAB. The automated testing set-up facilitates off-time data plotting as well as real-time data plotting during the sensing process. To demonstrate the working of the set-up, some initial results obtained are also included in this chapter. After ascertaining the functioning of the automated gas sensor testing set-up, detailed study on the sensing behavior of nanostructured CuO films was performed. This information along with the necessary details is included in Chapter 5. The sensing response of nanostructured CuO films has been studied for different VOCs such as alcohol, toluene and benzene. The study carried out on the effect of different surface additives like multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs), gold or platinum on ethanol sensing has also been included in this chapter. During the use of MWNTs as surface additives, different concentrations of MWNTs – 0.01 mg, 0.05 mg and 0.1 mg have been dispersed on the CuO sensing film. The sample with lowest concentration of MWNTs exhibited highest sensitivity and lower response time. It is due to the fact that, higher concentrations of MWNTs do not result into uniform dispersion over the CuO films and cover the sensing film almost completely. Operating temperature is the most important factor affecting the performance of a gas sensor. In order to maintain the operating temperature for the portable sensor, the sensor is usually integrated with a heater. The chapter 6 deals with heater optimization including design, simulation and fabrication. In this chapter, microheater as well as macro-heaters were simulated and fabricated. The fabricated macro-heater is bonded with the sensor by eutectic bonding. One of the bonded samples was studied for its sensing response. The final chapter of the thesis deals with the conclusion of present research work and the possible further work on CuO gas sensor.