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Sensors 2014, 14(1), 403-415; doi:10.3390/s140100403

Physical Characterization and Effect of Effective Surface Area on the Sensing Properties of Tin Dioxide Thin Solid Films in a Propane Atmosphere

1 Académica de Computación, ICBI, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Hidalgo, Mineral de la Reforma, 56092 Hidalgo, Mexico 2 Departamento de Ingeniería Eléctrica-SEES, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico Nacional, CINVESTAV-IPN, Apartado postal 14740, México D.F. 07000, Mexico 3 Escuela Superior de Ingeniería Mecánica y Eléctrica Unidad Ticomán, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, 07340 México, D.F., Mexico
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 September 2013 / Revised: 25 November 2013 / Accepted: 12 December 2013 / Published: 27 December 2013
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
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The physical properties and the effect of effective surface area (ESA) on the sensing properties of tin dioxide [SnO2] thin films in air and propane [C3H8] atmosphere as a function of operating temperature and gas concentration have been studied in this paper. SnO2 thin films with different estimated thicknesses (50, 100 and 200 nm) were deposited on glass substrates by the chemical spray technique. Besides, they were prepared at two different deposition temperatures (400 and 475 °C). Tin chloride [SnCl4∙5H2O] with 0.2 M concentration value and ethanol [C2H6O] were used as tin precursor and solvent, respectively. The morphological, and structural properties of the as-prepared films were analyzed by AFM and XRD, respectively. Gas sensing characteristics of SnO2 thin solid films were measured at operating temperatures of 22, 100, 200, and 300 °C, and at propane concentration levels (0, 5, 50, 100, 200, 300, 400, and 500 ppm). ESA values were calculated for each sample. It was found that the ESA increased with the increasing thickness of the films. The results demonstrated the importance of the achieving of a large effective surface area for improving gas sensing performance. SnO2 thin films deposited by spray chemical were chosen to study the ESA effect on gas sensing properties because their very rough surfaces were appropriate for this application.
Keywords: gas sensors; SnO2; thin solid films gas sensors; SnO2; thin solid films
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Gómez-Pozos, H.; González-Vidal, J.L.; Torres, G.A.; Olvera, M.L.; Castañeda, L. Physical Characterization and Effect of Effective Surface Area on the Sensing Properties of Tin Dioxide Thin Solid Films in a Propane Atmosphere. Sensors 2014, 14, 403-415.

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