The investigation and development of gas sensors with carbon nanomaterials

De Jager, Nicolaas Jacobus (2011-12)

Thesis (MScEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2011.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In this research the possible utilization of carbon nanomaterials in gas sensing applications are investigated. These materials include the 2-dimensional honeycomb-lattice carbon structure called graphene, and the 1-dimensional structures referred to as carbon nanotubes (CNTs). The extraordinary properties and unique morphology of these nanomaterials, make them excellent candidates for sensory applications. This research thus entails the investigation and development of gas sensors with these carbon nanomaterials. This includes the synthesis of CNTs via a chemical vapour deposition (CVD) technique and the fabrication of resistive thin film sensors with the various materials. The functionalization of carbon nanomaterials is also explored, which delivers promising results for sensing gases at room temperature, especially acetylene (C2H2). Furthermore, a unique method is developed to fabricate ultra thin aluminium microstructures. These metallic electrodes are found to be ideal for nanomaterial integration. An experiment is performed to manufacture an integrated sensor with MWCNTs and following the results, a refinement of the procedure and the investigation of FET-based devices are recommended. The results obtained during this work, indicate that engineered carbon nanostructures, such as CNTs and graphene, can potentially be applied in future sensing technologies.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie navorsing ondersoek die moontlike toepassing van koolstof nano-materiale as gas-sensor tegnologie. Hierdie materiale sluit die 2-dimensionele koolstof struktuur, grafeen, asook die sogenaamde 1-dimensionele koolstof nano-buise in. Die buitengewone eienskappe en unieke morfologie van hierdie nano-materiale, maak hul uitstekende kandidate vir sensor toepassings. Hierdie navorsing ondersoek dus die ontwikkeling van gas-sensors met koolstof nano-materiale, insluitend die sintese van koolstof nano-buise deur middel van ’n chemiese damp-neerslag proses, asook die fabrikasie van resistiewe dun film sensors. Die funksionalisering van koolstof nano-materiale is ook ondersoek en belowende resultate is opgelewer met betrekking tot die deteksie van gasse by kamertemperatuur, veral vir asetileen (C2H2) gas. Verder is ’n unieke metode ontwikkel om ultra dun aluminium mikrostrukture te vervaardig en hierdie metaal elektrodes word as ideaal beskou vir die integrasie van nano-materiale. ’n Eksperiment is uitgevoer om ’n geïntegreerde sensor te vervaardig met multi-wand koolstof nano-buise, waarvan die resultate aandui dat die proses verfyn moet word en dat die moontlike toepassing van veld-effek-transistor toestelle ondersoek moet word. Die resultate wat opgelewer is gedurende hierdie navorsing dui daarop dat ontwikkelde nanostrukture, soos koolstof nano-buise en grafeen, as toekomstige sensor tegnologie geïmplementeer kan word.

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