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Sensors and Catalysts


The use of nanostructured materials presents industry with a number of important benefits across a myriad of different applications: miniaturisation, material cost savings, lower energy consumption, and new physical and chemical properties due to nanoscale effects. This is true for the development of the classical electrochemical sensor market. Much of the work on nanomaterials for sensor devices has been in the early technical readiness stages and has not been commercially applied. Studies have focused on improving sensor characteristics and, for potentiometric ion-conducting oxygen sensors, we can consider the use of nanomaterials, in the following 3 areas:

1) for lowering electrode impedance, through increasing the density of triple phase   boundary sites for the dispersed metal – yttria stabilised zirconia support and gas phase, (TBP) ensuring a good response time through lowering the double layer capacitance,

2) for improving gas selectivity for oxygen or other gases by enhancing catalysis in the electrodes through elevated activities from a higher surface area to volume ratio,

3) for producing thin film electrolytes, to lower the activation energy for ionic conduction and thus enabling lower operation temperatures; yttria stabilised zirconia thin film materials with grain sizes controlled in the sub-micron range have been shown to significantly lower the activation energy for ionic conductivity.


  sensors and catalysts

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