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      Semiconductor Gas Sensors: Materials, Technology, Design, and Application


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          This paper presents an overview of semiconductor materials used in gas sensors, their technology, design, and application. Semiconductor materials include metal oxides, conducting polymers, carbon nanotubes, and 2D materials. Metal oxides are most often the first choice due to their ease of fabrication, low cost, high sensitivity, and stability. Some of their disadvantages are low selectivity and high operating temperature. Conducting polymers have the advantage of a low operating temperature and can detect many organic vapors. They are flexible but affected by humidity. Carbon nanotubes are chemically and mechanically stable and are sensitive towards NO and NH 3, but need dopants or modifications to sense other gases. Graphene, transition metal chalcogenides, boron nitride, transition metal carbides/nitrides, metal organic frameworks, and metal oxide nanosheets as 2D materials represent gas-sensing materials of the future, especially in medical devices, such as breath sensing. This overview covers the most used semiconducting materials in gas sensing, their synthesis methods and morphology, especially oxide nanostructures, heterostructures, and 2D materials, as well as sensor technology and design, application in advance electronic circuits and systems, and research challenges from the perspective of emerging technologies.

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          Most cited references 212

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          Nanotube molecular wires as chemical sensors

          Chemical sensors based on individual single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) are demonstrated. Upon exposure to gaseous molecules such as NO(2) or NH(3), the electrical resistance of a semiconducting SWNT is found to dramatically increase or decrease. This serves as the basis for nanotube molecular sensors. The nanotube sensors exhibit a fast response and a substantially higher sensitivity than that of existing solid-state sensors at room temperature. Sensor reversibility is achieved by slow recovery under ambient conditions or by heating to high temperatures. The interactions between molecular species and SWNTs and the mechanisms of molecular sensing with nanotube molecular wires are investigated.
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            Extreme oxygen sensitivity of electronic properties of carbon nanotubes

            The electronic properties of single-walled carbon nanotubes are shown here to be extremely sensitive to the chemical environment. Exposure to air or oxygen dramatically influences the nanotubes' electrical resistance, thermoelectric power, and local density of states, as determined by transport measurements and scanning tunneling spectroscopy. These electronic parameters can be reversibly "tuned" by surprisingly small concentrations of adsorbed gases, and an apparently semiconducting nanotube can be converted into an apparent metal through such exposure. These results, although demonstrating that nanotubes could find use as sensitive chemical gas sensors, likewise indicate that many supposedly intrinsic properties measured on as-prepared nanotubes may be severely compromised by extrinsic air exposure effects.
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              VESTA 3for three-dimensional visualization of crystal, volumetric and morphology data


                Author and article information

                Sensors (Basel)
                Sensors (Basel)
                Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)
                23 November 2020
                November 2020
                : 20
                : 22
                [1 ]Institute for Multidisciplinary Research, University of Belgrade, 11030 Belgrade, Serbia; mariavesna@ 123456imsi.rs (M.V.N.); zorkav@ 123456imsi.rs (Z.Z.V.)
                [2 ]Faculty of Engineering, University of Kragujevac, 34000 Kragujevac, Serbia; vlada@ 123456kg.ac.rs
                [3 ]IHP—Leibniz-Institut Für Innovative Mikroelektronik, 15236 Frankfurt (Oder), Germany
                Author notes
                © 2020 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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