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Special Issue "Nanostructured Materials for Chemical Sensing Applications"

A special issue of Materials (ISSN 1996-1944).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2015)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Elisabetta Comini

Sensor Lab, Department of Information Engineering, University of Brescia and CNR INO, Via Valotti 9, 25133 Brescia, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +390303715877
Interests: metal oxides; nanowires; chemical sensors; gas sensors
Guest Editor
Dr. Dario Zappa

Sensor Lab, Department of Information Engineering University of Brescia and CNR INO Via Valotti 9, 25133 Brescia, Italy
Website | E-Mail

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Over the last few decades, materials researchers have focused their attention and research efforts on developing materials for chemical sensing applications.

Chemical sensing is strategic for different applications, such as in the realms of human health, food security, and sustainability. Cutting edge research on sensing at the nanoscale level may lead to the innovations that are necessary for overcoming the drawbacks of commercial devices.

A huge variety of devices have been developed, mainly via: an empirical approach, a lot of basic theoretical research, and spectroscopy studies. These studies have been carried out to improve the well known ‘‘3's” of a gas sensor: sensitivity, selectivity, and stability. Advances in fabrication technologies allow the preparation of different materials on almost every possible substrate, thus expanding the resulting sensors' potential markets. Significant progress has been made in our understanding of: (1) the fundamentals concerning the interplay between bulk and surface properties; (2) sensing mechanisms in chemical sensors; and (3) chemical sensor development as real world sensing platforms.

This Special Issue mainly focuses on presenting a comprehensive overview of the new developments in the field, specifically with regard to the promising approaches that will contribute to the further development of this field. Recent advances in science and technology will be addressed, including fabrication techniques, growth mechanisms of novel high-performance materials with improved sensing properties, and advanced processing technologies. Sophisticated examples of successful applications of these materials, as chemical sensors, will also be provided. Moreover, the Special Issue will point out the critical steps involved in applications in real environments.

We invite you to submit a manuscript for this Special Issue. Full papers, communications, and reviews are all welcome.

Prof. Elisabetta Comini
Dr. Dario Zappa
Guest Editor

The following are the major items this Special Issue concerns itself with. The Special Issue intends to bring together manuscripts from leading experts in nanomaterials and chemical sensors, so as to highlight the forefront of research and steer future research directions.

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Materials is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • chemical and gas sensors
  • inorganic materials
  • organic materials
  • interaction of inorganic and organic materials in composite
  • metal oxide nanowires
  • synthesis and characterization of gas sensing materials
  • gas-nanomaterial interactions
  • nanotechnology for sensors
  • applications (automotive, medical, environmental monitoring…)

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Cu-Doped ZnO Thin Films Deposited by a Sol-Gel Process Using Two Copper Precursors: Gas-Sensing Performance in a Propane Atmosphere
Materials 2016, 9(2), 87; doi:10.3390/ma9020087
Received: 10 June 2015 / Revised: 11 January 2016 / Accepted: 18 January 2016 / Published: 29 January 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (3394 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A study on the propane gas-sensing properties of Cu-doped ZnO thin films is presented in this work. The films were deposited on glass substrates by sol-gel and dip coating methods, using zinc acetate as a zinc precursor, copper acetate and copper chloride as
[...] Read more.
A study on the propane gas-sensing properties of Cu-doped ZnO thin films is presented in this work. The films were deposited on glass substrates by sol-gel and dip coating methods, using zinc acetate as a zinc precursor, copper acetate and copper chloride as precursors for doping. For higher sensitivity values, two film thickness values are controlled by the six and eight dippings, whereas for doping, three dippings were used, irrespective of the Cu precursor. The film structure was analyzed by X-ray diffractometry, and the analysis of the surface morphology and film composition was made through scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS), respectively. The sensing properties of Cu-doped ZnO thin films were then characterized in a propane atmosphere, C3H8, at different concentration levels and different operation temperatures of 100, 200 and 300 °C. Cu-doped ZnO films doped with copper chloride presented the highest sensitivity of approximately 6 × 104, confirming a strong dependence on the dopant precursor type. The results obtained in this work show that the use of Cu as a dopant in ZnO films processed by sol-gel produces excellent catalysts for sensing C3H8 gas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Materials for Chemical Sensing Applications)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Validation of Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Aroma Authenticity, Categorized through the Use of an Array of Semiconductors Nanowire Device (S3)
Materials 2016, 9(2), 81; doi:10.3390/ma9020081
Received: 25 August 2015 / Revised: 12 January 2016 / Accepted: 21 January 2016 / Published: 28 January 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (2847 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Parmigiano Reggiano (PR) cheese is one of the most important Italian Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) cheeses and it is exported worldwide. As a PDO, the product is supposed to have distinctive sensory characteristics. In this work we present the use of the
[...] Read more.
Parmigiano Reggiano (PR) cheese is one of the most important Italian Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) cheeses and it is exported worldwide. As a PDO, the product is supposed to have distinctive sensory characteristics. In this work we present the use of the Small Gas Sensor System (S3) device for the identification of specific PR markers, as compared to classical chemical techniques, such as Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry solid-phase microextraction (SPME-GC-MS). Markers are used to determine the percent of grated pulp and rind commercially utilized. The S3 device is equipped with an array of six metal oxide semiconductor (MOX) gas sensors, three of them with a nanowire (NW) morphology and the other three in the form of thin films. PDO can cover grated PR cheese as well, but only if made with whole cheese. Grated PR cheese must be characterized by the absence of additives and no more than 18% crust. The achieved results strongly encourage the use of S3 for a rapid identification of the percentage of grated PR. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Materials for Chemical Sensing Applications)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Solid-State Gas Sensors: Sensor System Challenges in the Civil Security Domain
Materials 2016, 9(1), 65; doi:10.3390/ma9010065
Received: 31 August 2015 / Revised: 11 January 2016 / Accepted: 12 January 2016 / Published: 20 January 2016
PDF Full-text (11409 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The detection of military high explosives and illicit drugs presents problems of paramount importance in the fields of counter terrorism and criminal investigation. Effectively dealing with such threats requires hand-portable, mobile and affordable instruments. The paper shows that solid-state gas sensors can contribute
[...] Read more.
The detection of military high explosives and illicit drugs presents problems of paramount importance in the fields of counter terrorism and criminal investigation. Effectively dealing with such threats requires hand-portable, mobile and affordable instruments. The paper shows that solid-state gas sensors can contribute to the development of such instruments provided the sensors are incorporated into integrated sensor systems, which acquire the target substances in the form of particle residue from suspect objects and which process the collected residue through a sequence of particle sampling, solid-vapor conversion, vapor detection and signal treatment steps. Considering sensor systems with metal oxide gas sensors at the backend, it is demonstrated that significant gains in sensitivity, selectivity and speed of response can be attained when the threat substances are sampled in particle as opposed to vapor form. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Materials for Chemical Sensing Applications)
Open AccessArticle Ultrathin Gas Permeable Oxide Membranes for Chemical Sensing: Nanoporous Ta2O5 Test Study
Materials 2015, 8(10), 6677-6684; doi:10.3390/ma8105333
Received: 24 August 2015 / Revised: 17 September 2015 / Accepted: 21 September 2015 / Published: 25 September 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1552 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Conductometric gas sensors made of gas permeable metal oxide ultrathin membranes can combine the functions of a selective filter, preconcentrator, and sensing element and thus can be particularly promising for the active sampling of diluted analytes. Here we report a case study of
[...] Read more.
Conductometric gas sensors made of gas permeable metal oxide ultrathin membranes can combine the functions of a selective filter, preconcentrator, and sensing element and thus can be particularly promising for the active sampling of diluted analytes. Here we report a case study of the electron transport and gas sensing properties of such a membrane made of nanoporous Ta2O5. These membranes demonstrated a noticeable chemical sensitivity toward ammonia, ethanol, and acetone at high temperatures above 400 °C. Different from traditional thin films, such gas permeable, ultrathin gas sensing elements can be made suspended enabling advanced architectures of ultrasensitive analytical systems operating at high temperatures and in harsh environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Materials for Chemical Sensing Applications)
Open AccessArticle Effect of Water Vapor and Surface Morphology on the Low Temperature Response of Metal Oxide Semiconductor Gas Sensors
Materials 2015, 8(9), 6570-6588; doi:10.3390/ma8095323
Received: 31 August 2015 / Accepted: 21 September 2015 / Published: 23 September 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (2102 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this work the low temperature response of metal oxide semiconductor gas sensors is analyzed. Important characteristics of this low-temperature response are a pronounced selectivity to acid- and base-forming gases and a large disparity of response and recovery time constants which often leads
[...] Read more.
In this work the low temperature response of metal oxide semiconductor gas sensors is analyzed. Important characteristics of this low-temperature response are a pronounced selectivity to acid- and base-forming gases and a large disparity of response and recovery time constants which often leads to an integrator-type of gas response. We show that this kind of sensor performance is related to the trend of semiconductor gas sensors to adsorb water vapor in multi-layer form and that this ability is sensitively influenced by the surface morphology. In particular we show that surface roughness in the nanometer range enhances desorption of water from multi-layer adsorbates, enabling them to respond more swiftly to changes in the ambient humidity. Further experiments reveal that reactive gases, such as NO2 and NH3, which are easily absorbed in the water adsorbate layers, are more easily exchanged across the liquid/air interface when the humidity in the ambient air is high. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Materials for Chemical Sensing Applications)
Open AccessArticle Nanocrystalline BaSnO3 as an Alternative Gas Sensor Material: Surface Reactivity and High Sensitivity to SO2
Materials 2015, 8(9), 6437-6454; doi:10.3390/ma8095311
Received: 14 July 2015 / Revised: 31 August 2015 / Accepted: 11 September 2015 / Published: 18 September 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (2655 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nanocrystalline perovskite-type BaSnO3 was obtained via microwave-assisted hydrothermal route followed by annealing at variable temperature. The samples composition and microstructure were characterized. Particle size of 18–23 nm was unaffected by heat treatment at 275–700 °C. Materials DC-conduction was measured at variable temperature
[...] Read more.
Nanocrystalline perovskite-type BaSnO3 was obtained via microwave-assisted hydrothermal route followed by annealing at variable temperature. The samples composition and microstructure were characterized. Particle size of 18–23 nm was unaffected by heat treatment at 275–700 °C. Materials DC-conduction was measured at variable temperature and oxygen concentration. Barium stannate exhibited n-type semiconductor behavior at 150–450 °C with activation energy being dependent on the materials annealing temperature. Predominant ionosorbed oxygen species types were estimated. They were shown to change from molecular to atomic species on increasing temperature. Comparative test of sensor response to various inorganic target gases was performed using nanocrystalline SnO2-based sensors as reference ones. Despite one order of magnitude smaller surface area, BaSnO3 displayed higher sensitivity to SO2 in comparison with SnO2. DRIFT spectroscopy revealed distinct interaction routes of the oxides surfaces with SO2. Barium-promoted sulfate formation favoring target molecules oxidation was found responsible for the increased BaSnO3 sensitivity to ppm-range concentrations of SO2 in air. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Materials for Chemical Sensing Applications)
Open AccessArticle Plasma-Induced Wafer-Scale Self-Assembly of Silver Nanoparticles and Application to Biochemical Sensing
Materials 2015, 8(7), 3806-3814; doi:10.3390/ma8073806
Received: 9 May 2015 / Revised: 9 June 2015 / Accepted: 16 June 2015 / Published: 24 June 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2012 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this work, the wafer-scale silver nanoparticles fabricated by a self-assembly method was demonstrated based on a magnetron sputtering and plasma treatment process. Silver nanoparticles of different sizes and shapes were prepared, and the effects of the plasma treatment time, plasma gas composition,
[...] Read more.
In this work, the wafer-scale silver nanoparticles fabricated by a self-assembly method was demonstrated based on a magnetron sputtering and plasma treatment process. Silver nanoparticles of different sizes and shapes were prepared, and the effects of the plasma treatment time, plasma gas composition, and power were systematically investigated to develop a method for low-cost and large-scale fabrication of silver nanoparticles. Furthermore, the surface-enhanced Raman scattering experiments: crystal violet, as the probe, was absorbed on the silver nanoparticles film of different size and density, and get the phenomena of surface-enhanced Raman scattering and surface-enhanced fluorescence. The results show that the proposed technique provides a rapid method for the fabrication of silver nanomaterial; the method is adaptable to large-scale production and is compatible with the fabrication of other materials and biosensors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Materials for Chemical Sensing Applications)
Open AccessArticle The pH Sensing Properties of RF Sputtered RuO2 Thin-Film Prepared Using Different Ar/O2 Flow Ratio
Materials 2015, 8(6), 3352-3363; doi:10.3390/ma8063352
Received: 29 April 2015 / Revised: 29 May 2015 / Accepted: 2 June 2015 / Published: 9 June 2015
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (1150 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The influence of the Ar/O2 gas ratio during radio frequency (RF) sputtering of the RuO2 sensing electrode on the pH sensing performance is investigated. The developed pH sensor consists in an RF sputtered ruthenium oxide thin-film sensing electrode, in conjunction with
[...] Read more.
The influence of the Ar/O2 gas ratio during radio frequency (RF) sputtering of the RuO2 sensing electrode on the pH sensing performance is investigated. The developed pH sensor consists in an RF sputtered ruthenium oxide thin-film sensing electrode, in conjunction with an electroplated Ag/AgCl reference electrode. The performance and characterization of the developed pH sensors in terms of sensitivity, response time, stability, reversibility, and hysteresis are investigated. Experimental results show that the pH sensor exhibits super-Nernstian slopes in the range of 64.33–73.83 mV/pH for Ar/O2 gas ratio between 10/0–7/3. In particular, the best pH sensing performance, in terms of sensitivity, response time, reversibility and hysteresis, is achieved when the Ar/O2 gas ratio is 8/2, at which a high sensitivity, a low hysteresis and a short response time are attained simultaneously. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Materials for Chemical Sensing Applications)

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