Thin film devices, sensors and actuatorsThickness and microstructure effects on alcohol sensing of tin oxide thin films
Review articleOpen access
Abstract:

AbstractPorous ultrafine tin oxide ethanol gas sensors in the shape of a thin film have been prepared from tin alkoxide by the sol-gel process. The microstructural evolution of the tin oxide films, which affected the ethanol gas-sensing properties of the films, was investigated as a function of firing temperature and solution concentration. Theoretically, it was expected that ethanol gas sensitivity would increase monotonically with decreasing film thickness, but experimental results showed a maximum sensitivity at about 70 nm. The sudden decrease of the sensitivity below the thickness of 70 nm seemed to be due to the sudden decrease of film porosity, i.e. the sudden decrease of the number of the available sites for the oxidation reaction of ethanol molecules. Thus, it seemed that below the thickness of 70 nm, the sensitivity was governed by microstructure rather than by film thickness.

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