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Open AccessArticle

A Compact, Reliable and Efficient 16 Channel Power Supply for the Automated Screening of Semiconducting Metal Oxide Gas Sensors

1
Institute of Safety and Security Research ISF, University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg, Grantham-Allee 20, 53757 Sankt Augustin, Germany
2
Institute for Materials Research, Hasselt University, Wetenschapspark 1, B-3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Electronics 2019, 8(8), 882; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics8080882
Received: 10 July 2019 / Revised: 25 July 2019 / Accepted: 3 August 2019 / Published: 9 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Computer Science & Engineering)
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Abstract

The choice of suitable semiconducting metal oxide (MOX) gas sensors for the detection of a specific gas or gas mixture is time-consuming since the sensor’s sensitivity needs to be characterized at multiple temperatures to find its optimal operating conditions. To obtain reliable measurement results, it is very important that the power for the sensor’s integrated heater is stable, regulated and error-free (or error-tolerant). Especially the error-free requirement can be only be achieved if the power supply implements failure-avoiding and failure-detection methods. The biggest challenge is deriving multiple different voltages from a common supply in an efficient way while keeping the system as small and lightweight as possible. This work presents a reliable, compact, embedded system that addresses the power supply requirements for fully automated simultaneous sensor characterization for up to 16 sensors at multiple temperatures. The system implements efficient (avg. 83.3% efficiency) voltage conversion with low ripple output (<32 mV) and supports static or temperature-cycled heating modes. Voltage and current of each channel are constantly monitored and regulated to guarantee reliable operation. To evaluate the proposed design, 16 sensors were screened. The results are shown in the experimental part of this work. View Full-Text
Keywords: multi-channel power sourcing; semiconducting metal oxide gas sensor array; automated sensor-screening; high degree of diagnostic coverage and reliability multi-channel power sourcing; semiconducting metal oxide gas sensor array; automated sensor-screening; high degree of diagnostic coverage and reliability
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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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Hammer, C.; Warmer, J.; Sporrer, S.; Kaul, P.; Thoelen, R.; Jung, N. A Compact, Reliable and Efficient 16 Channel Power Supply for the Automated Screening of Semiconducting Metal Oxide Gas Sensors. Electronics 2019, 8, 882.

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