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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Exploring SnxTi1−xO2 Solid Solutions Grown onto Graphene Oxide (GO) as Selective Toluene Gas Sensors

1
Dipartimento di Chimica, Università degli Studi di Milano, Via Golgi 19, 20133 Milan, Italy
2
Consorzio Interuniversitario per la Scienza e Tecnologia dei Materiali (INSTM), Via Giusti 9, 50121 Firenze, Italy
3
Dipartimento di Chimica & NIS, Università degli Studi di Torino, Via P. Giuria 7, 10125 Turin, Italy
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(4), 761; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10040761
Received: 25 March 2020 / Revised: 11 April 2020 / Accepted: 13 April 2020 / Published: 15 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomaterials for Gas Sensors Applications)
The major drawback of oxide-based sensors is the lack of selectivity. In this context, SnxTi1−xO2/graphene oxide (GO)-based materials were synthesized via a simple hydrothermal route, varying the titanium content in the tin dioxide matrix. Then, toluene and acetone gas sensing performances of the as-prepared sensors were systematically investigated. Specifically, by using 32:1 SnO2/GO and 32:1 TiO2/GO, a greater selectivity towards acetone analyte, also at room temperature, was obtained even at ppb level. However, solid solutions possessing a higher content of tin relative to titanium (as 32:1 Sn0.55Ti0.45O2/GO) exhibited higher selectivity towards bigger and non-polar molecules (such as toluene) at 350 °C, rather than acetone. A deep experimental investigation of structural (XRPD and Raman), morphological (SEM, TEM, BET surface area and pores volume) and surface (XPS analyses) properties allowed us to give a feasible explanation of the different selectivity. Moreover, by exploiting the UV light, the lowest operating temperature to obtain a significant and reliable signal was 250 °C, keeping the greater selectivity to the toluene analyte. Hence, the feasibility of tuning the chemical selectivity by engineering the relative amount of SnO2 and TiO2 is a promising feature that may guide the future development of miniaturized chemoresistors. View Full-Text
Keywords: metal oxide solid solutions; graphene oxide; chemoresistor; volatile organic compounds; sensitivity; selectivity; room temperature sensing metal oxide solid solutions; graphene oxide; chemoresistor; volatile organic compounds; sensitivity; selectivity; room temperature sensing
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MDPI and ACS Style

Pargoletti, E.; Verga, S.; Chiarello, G.L.; Longhi, M.; Cerrato, G.; Giordana, A.; Cappelletti, G. Exploring SnxTi1−xO2 Solid Solutions Grown onto Graphene Oxide (GO) as Selective Toluene Gas Sensors. Nanomaterials 2020, 10, 761.

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