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Light-Activated Metal Oxide Gas Sensors: A Review

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      Abstract

      Conductometric gas sensors facilitated by photons have been investigated for decades. Light illumination may enhance device attributes including operational temperature, sensing sensitivity and selectivity. This paper aims to provide an overview on the progress of light-activated gas sensors, with a specific focus on sensors based on metal oxides. The material systems that have been studied include pure metal oxides, heterostructures of semiconductor-metal oxides and metal-metal oxides, and metal oxides with dopant. Other reported works on the use of different nanostructures such as one-dimensional and porous nanostructures, study of sensing mechanisms and the interplay between various factors are also summarized. Possible directions for further improvement of sensing properties, through optimizing the size of nanomaterials, film thickness, light intensity and wavelength are discussed. Finally, we point out that the main challenge faced by light-activated gas sensors is their low optical response, and we have analyzed the feasibility of using localized surface plasmon resonance to solve this drawback. This article should offer readers some key and instructive insights into the current and future development of light-activated gas sensors.

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      Recent years have seen a renewed interest in the harvesting and conversion of solar energy. Among various technologies, the direct conversion of solar to chemical energy using photocatalysts has received significant attention. Although heterogeneous photocatalysts are almost exclusively semiconductors, it has been demonstrated recently that plasmonic nanostructures of noble metals (mainly silver and gold) also show significant promise. Here we review recent progress in using plasmonic metallic nanostructures in the field of photocatalysis. We focus on plasmon-enhanced water splitting on composite photocatalysts containing semiconductor and plasmonic-metal building blocks, and recently reported plasmon-mediated photocatalytic reactions on plasmonic nanostructures of noble metals. We also discuss the areas where major advancements are needed to move the field of plasmon-mediated photocatalysis forward.
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        Gas sensors using hierarchical and hollow oxide nanostructures: Overview

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          Metal and metal oxide nanoparticles in chemiresistors: does the nanoscale matter?

          Sensor technology is one of the most important key technologies of the future with a constantly increasing number of applications, both in the industrial and in the private sectors. More and more gas sensors are used for the control of technical processes, in environment monitoring, healthcare, and automobiles. Consequently, the development of fast and sensitive gas sensors with small cross sensitivity is the subject of intense research, propelled by strategies based on nanoscience and -technology. Established systems can be improved and novel sensor concepts based on bottom-up approaches show that the sensor properties can be controlled by molecular design. This Review highlights the recent developments and reflects the impact of nanoscience on sensor technology.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Department of Electronic Engineering, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong, China; xufangabroad@ 123456gmail.com
            [2 ]Department of Biomedical Engineering, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong, China
            Author notes
            Journal
            Micromachines (Basel)
            Micromachines (Basel)
            micromachines
            Micromachines
            MDPI
            2072-666X
            18 November 2017
            November 2017
            : 8
            : 11
            6190203 10.3390/mi8110333 micromachines-08-00333
            © 2017 by the authors.

            Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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