Inorganic Chemistry

SnO2 -SiO2 1D Core-Shell Nanowires Heterostructures for Selective Hydrogen Sensing



SnO2 is one of the most employed n-type semiconducting metal oxide (SMOX) in chemo-resistive gas-sensing although it presents serious limitations due to a low selectivity. Herein, we introduce one-dimensional (1D) SnO2-SiO2 core-shell nanowires (CSNWs). SnO2 nanowires (NWs) are synthesized by vapor–liquid–solid deposition and the amorphous SiO2-shell layer with varying thicknesses (1.8-10.5 nm) was grown by atomic layer deposition (ALD). SiO2-coated SnO2 CSNWs show lower baseline conductance as compared to the Pristine SnO2 NWs, due to an enhancement of the electron depletion layer. The SnO2-SiO2/N CSNWs (N representing the number of SiO 2 ALD cycles) sensors show a dramatic improvement of the selectivity towards hydrogen. Moreover, the sensing-response markedly depends on the thickness of the SiO2-shell layer and the working temperature. The SnO2-SiO2/60 CSNWs sensor (ca. 4.8 nm SiO2 shell thickness) was the best performing sensor in terms of selectivity and sensitivity exhibiting a response of 160 (ca. 7-folds higher than the pristine SnO2 NWs) towards 500 ppm of hydrogen at 500 °C with a lower detection limit at ppb-level (0.082 ppm). The selectivity and enhanced sensing-response are related to the masking effect of the SiO2 shell and an increased in the width of the electron depletion layer due to the strong electronic coupling between the SnO2 core and SiO2-shell layer, respectively. The remarkable sensing performances of the SnO2-SiO2/N CSNWs can be attributed to the homogeneous and conformal SiO2 shell layer by ALD,
electronic coupling between the core and the shell, the optimized shell thickness and high surface area provided by the 1D SnO2 NWs network.

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Supplementary material

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