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Calorimetric Gas

a waveguide configuration in order to increase the gas sensitivity of such sensing

devices. However, the optical transducers are relatively expensive due to the
precise alignment required with the use of a light source and a spectrometer
coupled with fiber optics or the use of a laser.
optical transducers are bulky and power consuming and for these reasons not
suitable for the development of low-cost and low power consuming devices.
chemical sensors consist of two main parts, a receptor and a transducer. The
receptor transforms chemical information into a form of energy, which can be
measured by the transducer. The transducer converts this energy into a useful,
typically electrical, analytical signal

The most important parameters and their definitions:

Sensitivity is a change of measured signal per analyte concentration unit, i.e.,
slope of a calibration graph. This parameter is sometimes confused with the
Selectivity refers to characteristics that determine whether a sensor can
respond selectively to a group of analytes or even specifically to a single analyte.
Stability is the ability of a sensor to provide reproducible results for a certain
period of time. This includes retaining the sensitivity, selectivity, response, and
recovery time.
Detection limit is the lowest concentration of the analyte that can be detected
by the sensor under given conditions, particularly at a given temperature.
Dynamic range is the analyte concentration range between the detection limit
and the highest limiting concentration.
Linearity is the relative deviation of an experimentally determined calibration
graph from an ideal straight line.
Resolution is the lowest concentration difference that can be distinguished by
Response time is the time required for sensor to respond to a step
concentration change from zero to a certain concentration value.
Recovery time is the time it takes for the sensor signal to return to its initial
value after a step concentration change from a certain value to zero.
Working temperature is usually the temperature that corresponds to maximum
Hysteresis is the maximum difference in output when the value is approached
with an increasing and a decreasing analyte concentration range.
Life cycle is the period of time over which the sensor will continuously operate.
An ideal chemical sensor would possess high sensitivity, dynamic range,
selectivity and stability; low detection limit; good linearity; small hysteresis and
response time; and long life cycle.
The typical metal-oxide gas sensor element consists of the following parts:
sensitive layer,
electrodes, and
In the measurement path can also reduce the strength of the received signal, so
it is usual to make a simultaneous measurement at one or more reference
The quantity of gas intercepted by the beam is then inferred from the ratio of the
signal losses at the measurement and reference wavelengths.
The calculation is typically carried out by a microprocessor which also carries out
various checks to validate the measurement and prevent false alarms.
The measured quantity is the sum of all the gas along the path of the beam,
sometimes termed the path-integral concentration of the gas.
Thus the measurement has a natural bias (desirable in many applications)
towards the total size of an unintentional gas release, rather than the
concentration of the gas that has reached any particular point.
Whereas the natural units of measurement for an Infrared point sensor are parts-
per-million (ppm) or the percentage of the lower flammable limit (%LFL), the
natural units of measurement for an open path detector are ppm.metres (ppmm)
or LFL.metres (LFLm).
For instance, the fire and gas safety system on an offshore platform in the North
Sea typically has detectors set to a full-scale reading of 5LFLm, with low and high
alarms triggered at 1LFLm and 3LFLm respectively.

Electrochemical sensor
How it is works?
>> Sensor is a chamber containing a gel or electrolyte and two active
electrodes which are
for measuring (sensing/working) electrode (anode) and the counter
electrode (cathode)
>>A third electrode (reference) is used to build up a constant voltage
between the anode
and cathode.
>>The gas sample enters the casing through membrane; oxidation occurs at
the anode and
reduction takes place at the cathode.
>>When the positive ions flow to the cathode and the negative ions flow to
the anode, a
current proportional to the gas concentration generated.

Point infrared

Uses an electrically modulated source of infrared energy and two

detectors that convert the infrared energy into electrical signals.
Each detector is sensitive to a different range of wavelengths in the
infrared portion of spectrum.
The source emission is directed through a window in the main enclosure
into an open volume.
A mirror may be used at the end of this volume to direct the energy back
through the window and onto the detectors.
The presence of a combustible gas will reduce the intensity of the source
emission reaching the analytical detector but not the intensity of emission
reaching the reference detector.
The microprocessor monitors the ratio of these two signals and correlates
this to a %LEL reading.
Metal oxide semiconductor

A semiconducting material (metal oxide) is applied to a non-conducting

substance (substrate) between two electrodes.
The substrate is heated to a temperature at which the presence of the gas
can cause a reversible change in the conductivity of the semi-conducting
When no gas is present, oxygen is ionized onto the surface and the sensor
become semi-conductive, when molecules of the gas interest are present,
they replace the oxygen ions, decreasing the resistance between the
This change is measured electrically and is proportional to the
concentration of the gas being measured.


The principle of the sensor is based on a change in color of the gas

sensitive layer when it comes into contact with the target gas.
A special sensor concept has been developed in order to be able to detect
a color change automatically: the central element is an optical waveguide.
The color change material is deposited on the surface of this waveguide.
Light, coupled into the front of the waveguide, passes by total internal
reflection and is focused on a photodetector at the opposite side.
A change in color of the gas sensitive material corresponds directly to the
change in absorption of the light.
This reaction occurs in the visible wavelength range.
The measurement signal is generated from the change in voltage in the
For the purposes of stabilization, the sensitive material is embedded in a
This polymer dye matrix is applied to the waveguide using microsystem
technology methods e.g. spin coating, screen printing or inkjet printing.