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Metal-oxide semiconductor gas sensors


Development of Metal-Oxide Semiconductor Plate Gas Sensors for Detection of СО, СН4, СО+СН4, С2Н5ОН

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-EHS/Environmental Health and Safety/Environment
  • ENV-MIN/Monitoring and Instrumentation/Environment
  • INS-DET/Detection Devices/Instrumentation

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Belarussian State University / Institute of Physical Chemical Problems, Belarus, Minsk

Supporting institutes

  • Uzhgorod National University / Research Institute of Analytical Technique, Ukraine, Uzhgorod


  • Institute for Microelectronics and Microsystems, CNR, Italy, Rome\nTechnische Universität Darmstadt, Germany, Darmstadt

Project summary

The project is aimed to develop gas sensors with improved functional characteristics compared to currently in use commercial sensors. The efforts of the partners will be directed to enhancing sensitivity, selectivity, long-term stability, fast operation and reduction of sensors’ power consumption. The improvement of these parameters will drive up a demand for sensors and widen the range of their application in domestic and industrial safety related systems. To design the sensors the latest achievements in nanotechnology to manufacture gas-sensing materials with the assigned properties will be used. Control of the sensor functional parameters will be achieved at the expense of change of gas-sensing material composition and structure and optimization of time-temperature operation modes. It is also planned to test various-type heating platforms, including microhotplates based on porous membranes.

The objective of the current Project is to develop metal oxide sensors to detect СО, СН4 and СО+СН4 mixture as well as ethanol vapor with the characteristics that will provide their wide use in both existing and newly-developed devices to control inflammable and toxic gases and alcohol vapor. To improve the usability of the sensors the following approaches will be applied:

  1. Nanotechnology technique. It will help synthesize oxide composites different in chemical composition, structure and phase state and adsorption-catalytic properties with relation to each of the gases under detection. This will enable to adjust the sensors’ gas-sensing characteristics when changing the above-mentioned parameters.
  2. High dispersity (nano-size state) of the synthesized powders will enable to form gas-sensing thick-film layers with high adhesion to the substrate, with high specific surface area and adjustable layer thickness on small-size heating areas and hotplates with different size and type.
  3. Use of various time-temperature operation modes will help to optimize the sensor operation when detecting СО and СО+СН4 mixture, increase threshold sensitivity to СО, improve selectivity of СО and СН4 detection, reduce power consumption of the СО sensors.

In the development of the sensors we will use our previous experience the field of:
  • sol-gel nanotechnology to obtain complex oxide materials with the requested structure and controllable activity in adsorption-catalytic processes;
  • optimization of time-temperature operation modes of the sensors for separate gases and СО+CН4 mixture;
  • development of the sensors of various design and application, and their state-of-the-practice by the customer.

The project will be executed by two groups of experts from Belarus and Ukraine majoring in various directions of researches and complementing each other the solution of the project tasks.

The project participants from the RIPCP BSU are experts in the field of controlled synthesis, structural characterization of complex-oxide systems used as gas-sensing materials, catalysts, oxygen membranes, magnetic materials. They have been involved in a number of European projects (IC15CT96-0803, INTAS №2000-0066, №2001-2162), including the project aimed at development of gas-sensing materials for micro-sensors on silicon substrate (ICA2-CT-2000-10041), and the project on sol-gel method of synthesis of selective catalysts and oxygen conducting membranes (ISTC №3234).

The project participant – RIAT UzhNU – is a research institute founded on the base of special construction department. The activities of the RIAT is mainly aimed at sensor and energy-saving technologies. The project participants from the RIAT UzhNU have the required qualification and experience to design, fabricate and test multi-objective sensors, optimize their characteristics taking into account operating conditions. They enjoy fruitful cooperation with the developers, manufacturers and customers of equipment for gas analysis from Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, and Moldova. Some of the executers have experience of work in the STCU projects (№№ 604, 304, Р080). In the RIAT UzhNU there have been developed the sensors for СО, СН4, СО+СН4, С2Н5ОН, NH3 on ceramic substrate and their production to the customers is in progress (

Foreign collaborators will complement the efforts of the executors in the solution of the assigned tasks. They are experts in development of gas-sensing materials and new types of gas sensors. The first organization is the collaborator involved in the development of hydrothermal synthesis of gas-sensing materials. The second organization specializes in the development of new types of microhotplates and their experience will be helpful for the joint research. The RIPCP BSU specialists have experience in work with the collaborators.

Expected Results and their application. Buy-and-plug-in semiconductor sensors with the improved characteristics compared to conventional analogues to detect СО, СН4, СО+СН4, С2Н5ОН vapor. The improved selectivity and threshold sensitivity to the above-mentioned gases, reduced power consumption and increased stability of the parameters at various time-temperature operation modes are expected. The sensors will to be tested with the help of standard methods in portable devices – safety gas detectors (for СО, СН4, binary mixture СО+СН4) and alcohol detectors (С2Н5ОН vapor). The parameters of the developed sensors will be evaluated with relation to the parameters of commercial sensors available at the markets and used in devices for gas analysis.

Additional Results: New knowledge in adjusting gas-sensing properties of the sensors (sensitivity, selectivity, power consumption, stability) by varying chemical composition and structure of metal-oxide materials, and time-temperature operation modes; in comparative evaluation of the parameters of the developed sensors on various platforms and conventional sensors available on the market of CIS countries.

The proposed project meets ISTC goals and objectives since it is oriented to peaceful developments of technologies related to the production of new samples of sensors to control toxic substances in atmosphere and alcohol detectors which will promote creation safety conditions at home and at work. It will also facilitate the solution of some social and ecological problems. The contribution of scientists and specialists with relation to the development of armaments makes 1298 man-days or 54 % from total number of project participant’s man-days. The project has significant social consequences and economic profit. It accords to national priorities of countries in the field of scientific and technical products. In Belarus there are state scientific programs «Electronics» and «Nanomaterials and nanotechnologies», which make provisions for the development of sensors and nanotechnologies for the enterprises of the republic. The Directive of President № 1 from 11.03.04 «On measures to consolidate social security and discipline» is in effect. It provides arrangements on express-testing of alcohol content with the use of portable detectors. In Ukraine the most significant directions in science and engineering for educational institutions are «Environmental protection and steady development», «New materials and substances», «The latest technologies and resource saving technologies in power engineering, industry and agriculture». The project will favor the execution of tasks of «State Objective-oriented scientific and technical program to develop and create sensor science-intensive products for 2008-2012» and state program «Nanotechnologies and nanomaterials» approved for 2010-2014 in Ukraine


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