Strategies for the enhancement of gas sensing properties, and specifically the improvement of gas selectivity of metal oxide semiconductor nanowire (NW) networks grown by chemical vapor deposition and thermal evaporation, are reviewed. Highly crystalline NWs grown by vapor-phase routes have various advantages, and thus have been applied in the field of gas sensors over the years. In particular, n
-type NWs such as SnO2
, ZnO, and In2
are widely studied because of their simple synthetic preparation and high gas response. However, due to their usually high responses to C2
OH and NO2
, the selective detection of other harmful and toxic gases using oxide NWs remains a challenging issue. Various strategies—such as doping/loading of noble metals, decorating/doping of catalytic metal oxides, and the formation of core–shell structures—have been explored to enhance gas selectivity and sensitivity, and are discussed herein. Additional methods such as the transformation of n
-type into p
-type NWs and the formation of catalyst-doped hierarchical structures by branch growth have also proven to be promising for the enhancement of gas selectivity. Accordingly, the physicochemical modification of oxide NWs via various methods provides new strategies to achieve the selective detection of a specific gas, and after further investigations, this approach could pave a new way in the field of NW-based semiconductor-type gas sensors.
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