In Tube Integrated Electronic Nose System on a Flexible Polymer Substrate
Received: 13 August 2012 / Revised: 13 September 2012 / Accepted: 25 September 2012 / Published: 12 October 2012
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The fabrication of electronic devices, such as gas sensors on flexible polymer substrates, enables the use of electronics in applications where conventional devices on stiff substrates could not be used. We demonstrate the development of a new intra-tube electronic-nose (e-nose) gas sensor device
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The fabrication of electronic devices, such as gas sensors on flexible polymer substrates, enables the use of electronics in applications where conventional devices on stiff substrates could not be used. We demonstrate the development of a new intra-tube electronic-nose (e-nose) gas sensor device with multiple sensors fabricated and integrated on a flexible substrate. For this purpose, we developed a new method of fabricating a sensor array of four gas sensors on a flexible polymer substrate. The method allowed the use of lithography techniques to pattern different polymers with a broad range of solubility parameters. Conductive polymer composites were used as a gas sensitive layer due to the high stretchability of the material. Each of the 30 e-nose devices on one substrate was designed to fit on a polymer strip with a width of 2 mm. A single e-nose strip was successfully integrated into the inlet tube of a gas-measurement apparatus with an inner-tube diameter of 3 mm. Using the e-nose, we were able to differentiate between four different volatile solvent vapors. The tube-integrated e-nose outperformed a chamber-integrated e-nose of the same type in terms of response time and flow-rate influences. The sensor array inside the tube showed a faster response time and detected short pulses of analyte exposure compared to the same sensor array outside of the tube. We measured gas flow rates from 1,000 to 30 sccm without significant changes in sensor performance using this intra-tube e-nose prototype. The tube could be bent to radii < 15 mm with a sensor performance similar to an unbent sensor.