Accurate detection of flammable gases is essential for safe operation of many industrial processes. Installing networks of combustible gas monitors in industrial settings can allow for rapid leak detection and increased safety and environmental protection. However, existing combustible gas monitors are not suitable for use in wireless sensor networks due to the high power consumption. We have developed an ultra-low power combustible gas sensor with competitive sensitivity and lifetime characteristics that will enable ubiquitous wireless monitoring of combustible gases in industrial settings, resulting in enhanced safety. The core technology is a suspended polysilion microheater coated with a novel nanotechnology-based sensing material that catalyzes hydrocarbon combustion. Successful hydrogen and propane sensing has been demonstrated with platinum nanoparticle-loaded graphene and boron nitride aerogel as the catalytic sensing material. With 10% duty cycling, the sensor has a power consumption of 1.5 mW while collecting data once per second and with no loss in sensitivity. We are currently working on silicon carbide-based microheater platform, for enhanced stability at high operating temperature.
Project end date: 08/24/16