Porphyrin is one of the most promising materials for realizing a practical artificial olfactory sensor system. In this study, we focus on non-substituted porphyrins—porphines—as receptor materials of nanomechanical membrane-type surface stress sensors (MSS) to investigate the effect of center metals on gas sensing. By omitting the substituents on the tetrapyrrole macrocycle of porphyrin, the peripheral interference by substituents can be avoided. Zinc, nickel, and iron were chosen for the center metals as these metalloporphines show different properties compared to free-base porphine. The present study revealed that iron insertion enhanced sensitivity to various gases, while zinc and nickel insertion led to equivalent or less sensitivity than free-base porphine. Based on the experimental results, we discuss the role of center metals for gas uptake from the view point of molecular interaction. We also report the high robustness of the iron porphine to humidity, showing the high feasibility of porphine-based nanomechanical sensor devices for practical applications in ambient conditions.
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