Alcohol detection using carbon nanotubes acoustic and optical sensors

Penza, M.; Cassano, G.; Aversa, P.; Antolini, F.; Cusano, A.; Cutolo, A.; Giordano, M.; Nicolais, L.
September 2004
Applied Physics Letters;9/20/2004, Vol. 85 Issue 12, p2379
Academic Journal
We demonstrate the integration of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) onto quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) and standard silica optical fiber (SOF) sensor for alcohol detection at room temperature. Different transducing mechanisms have been used in order to outline the sensing properties of this class of nanomaterials, in particular the attention has been focused on two key parameters in sensing applications: mass and refractive index changes due to gas absorption. Here, Langmuir­Blodgett (LB) films consisting of tangled bundles of SWCNTs without surfactant molecules have been successfully transferred onto QCM and SOF. Mass-sensitive 10 MHz QCM SWCNTs sensor exhibited a resonant frequency decreasing upon tested alcohols exposure; also the normalized optoelectronic signal (λ=1310 nm) of the refractive index-sensitive SOF SWCNTs sensor was found to decrease upon alcohols ambient. Highly sensitive, repeatable and reversible responses of the QCM and SOF SWCNTs sensors indicate that the detection, at room temperature, in a wide mmHg vapor pressures range of alcohols and potentially other volatile organic compounds is feasible.


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