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Sensors 2018, 18(8), 2600; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18082600

Reducing Humidity Response of Gas Sensors for Medical Applications: Use of Spark Discharge Synthesis of Metal Oxide Nanoparticles

1
Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Dolgoprudny, 141701 Moscow Region, Russia
2
NRC “Kurchatov Institute”, 123182 Moscow, Russia
3
ITMO University, 191002 St. Petersburg, Russia
4
Kurnakov Institute of General and Inorganic Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, 119991 Moscow, Russia
5
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 June 2018 / Revised: 30 July 2018 / Accepted: 1 August 2018 / Published: 8 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Chemical Sensors)
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Abstract

The application of gas sensors in breath analysis is an important trend in the early diagnostics of different diseases including lung cancer, ulcers, and enteric infection. However, traditional methods of synthesis of metal oxide gas-sensing materials for semiconductor sensors based on wet sol-gel processes give relatively high sensitivity of the gas sensor to changing humidity. The sol-gel process leading to the formation of superficial hydroxyl groups on oxide particles is responsible for the strong response of the sensing material to this factor. In our work, we investigated the possibility to synthesize metal oxide materials with reduced sensitivity to water vapors. Dry synthesis of SnO2 nanoparticles was implemented in gas phase by spark discharge, enabling the reduction of the hydroxyl concentration on the surface and allowing the production of tin dioxide powder with specific surface area of about 40 m2/g after annealing at 610 °C. The drop in sensor resistance does not exceed 20% when air humidity increases from 40 to 100%, whereas the response to 100 ppm of hydrogen is a factor of 8 with very short response time of about 1 s. The sensor response was tested in mixtures of air with hydrogen, which is the marker of enteric infections and the marker of early stage fire, and in a mixture of air with lactate (marker of stomach cancer) and ammonia gas (marker of Helicobacter pylori, responsible for stomach ulcers). View Full-Text
Keywords: breath test; biomarkers; hydrogen gas sensor; spark discharge synthesis of nanoparticles; minimization of humidity response breath test; biomarkers; hydrogen gas sensor; spark discharge synthesis of nanoparticles; minimization of humidity response
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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. (CC BY 4.0).
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Vasiliev, A.A.; Varfolomeev, A.E.; Volkov, I.A.; Simonenko, N.P.; Arsenov, P.V.; Vlasov, I.S.; Ivanov, V.V.; Pislyakov, A.V.; Lagutin, A.S.; Jahatspanian, I.E.; Maeder, T. Reducing Humidity Response of Gas Sensors for Medical Applications: Use of Spark Discharge Synthesis of Metal Oxide Nanoparticles. Sensors 2018, 18, 2600.

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