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Sensors 2019, 19(6), 1296; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19061296

Nanostructured P3HT as a Promising Sensing Element for Real-Time, Dynamic Detection of Gaseous Acetone

1
Global Connectivity & Technology—Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, Corso Lino Zanussi 24, 33080 Porcia (PN), Italy
2
Department of Engineering and Architecture, University of Trieste, Via Valerio 10, 34127 Trieste, Italy
3
Artificial Perception Laboratory, Department of Engineering and Architecture, University of Trieste, Via Valerio 10, 34127 Trieste, Italy
4
CNR-Istituto Officina dei Materiali, Strada Statale 14 km 163,5 - 34149 Basovizza, Trieste (TS), Italy
5
Flextronics Laboratory, Department of Engineering and Architecture, University of Trieste, Via Valerio 10, 34127 Trieste, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 January 2019 / Revised: 20 February 2019 / Accepted: 28 February 2019 / Published: 14 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Surfaces in Sensing Systems)
PDF [1169 KB, uploaded 15 March 2019]

Abstract

The dynamic response of gas sensors based on poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) nanofibers
(NFs) to gaseous acetone was assessed using a setup based on flow-injection analysis, aimed at
emulating actual breath exhalation. The setup was validated by using a commercially available sensor.
The P3HT NFs sensors tested in dynamic flow conditions showed satisfactory reproducibility down to
about 3.5 ppm acetone concentration, a linear response over a clinically relevant concentration range
(3.5-35 ppm), excellent baseline recovery and reversibility upon repeated exposures to the analyte,
short pulse rise and fall times (less than 1 s and about 2 s, respectively) and low power consumption
(few nW), with no relevant response to water. Comparable responses' decay times under either
nitrogen or dry air suggest that the mechanisms at work is mainly attributable to specific analytesemiconducting
polymer interactions. These results open the way to the use of P3HT NFs-based
sensing elements for the realization of portable, real-time electronic noses for on-the-fly exhaled
breath analysis.
Keywords: gas sensors; P3HT; semiconducting polymer; nanostructured sensors; acetone detection; breath analysis gas sensors; P3HT; semiconducting polymer; nanostructured sensors; acetone detection; breath analysis
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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Bertoni, C.; Naclerio, P.; Viviani, E.; Dal Zilio, S.; Carrato, S.; Fraleoni-Morgera, A. Nanostructured P3HT as a Promising Sensing Element for Real-Time, Dynamic Detection of Gaseous Acetone. Sensors 2019, 19, 1296.

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