Material Screening for Gas Sensing using an Electronic Nose: Gas Sorption Thermodynamic and Kinetic Considerations

13 May 2021, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


To detect multiple gases in a mixture, one must employ an electronic nose or sensor array, composed of several materials as a single material cannot resolve all the gases in a mixture accurately. Given the many candidate materials, choosing the right combination of materials to be used in an array is a challenging task. In a sensor whose sensing mechanism depends on a change in mass upon gas adsorption, both the equilibrium and kinetic characteristics of the gas-material system dictate the performance of the array. The overarching goal of this work is two-fold. First, we aim to highlight the impact of thermodynamic characteristics of gas-material combination on array performance and to develop a graphical approach to rapidly screen materials. Second, we aim to highlight the need to incorporate the gas sorption kinetic characteristics to provide an accurate picture of the performance of a sensor array. To address these goals, we have developed a computational test bench that incorporates a sensor model and a gas composition estimator. To provide a generic study, we have chosen, as candidate materials, hypothetical materials that exhibit equilibrium characteristics similar to metal organic frameworks (MOFs). Our computational studies led to key learnings, namely: (1) exploit the shape of the sensor response as a function of gas composition for material screening purposes for gravimetric arrays; (2) incorporate both equilibrium and kinetics for gas composition estimation in a dynamic system; and (3) engineer the array by accounting for the kinetics of the materials, the feed gas flow rate, and the size of the device.


Gas Sensors
Metal-organic frameworks
Electronic Nose


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