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Extended Summary


Detection of Dilute Aromatic VOCs Using WO3 Thin Film Sensors Equipped
with Au Interdigitated Microelectrode
Jun Tamaki Member (Ritsumeikan University)
Yuka Michiba Non-member (Ritsumeikan University)
Susumu Kajita Non-member (Matsushita Electric Works)
Keywords : Aromatic VOCs, WO3 thin film sensor, Interdigitated microelectrode

It is said that VOCs (volatile organic compounds) generated in

house break humans health due to long term exposure, so called
sick house syndrom and that typical VOCs have bad influence are
aldehydes (folmaldehyde, acetaldehyde), aromatics (toluene,
xylene, ethylbenzene, styrene), and so on. These days, high
sensitivity gas sensors for the detection of VOCs are incresingly
demanded in order to control an autoventilation system in a highly
airtight house. For this purpose, the sensors are needed to detect
dilute VOCs in ppb-level. There was almost no report on the
detection of dilute aromatic VOCs in ppb level.
The high sensitivity aromatic VOC gas sensor was developed
with the WO3 thin film deposited on the Au interdigitated
The Au interdigitated microelectrode was
fabricated by means of MEMS techniques (photolithography and
RIE) (Fig. 1). Three different interdigitated electrodes were
fabricated with the teeth distance of 2, 3, and 5 m and fixed
number of teeth (50) in order to investigate the effect of teeth
The H2WO4 suspension prepared from
(NH4)10W12O41 5H2O was dropped on the Au interdigitated
microelectrode, dried, and calcined at 500 for 3h in air to be
the WO3 microsensor. The sensor resistance was measured in air
(Ra) and in aromatic VOC containing air (Rg) at 400-550.
The sensor response (S) was defined as Ra/Rg.
Figure 2 shows the sensor responses to 1.5 ppm xylene of the
WO3 thin film microsensors with interdigitated electrode of
various teeth distance (2, 3, and 5 m) as a function of operating
temperature. The sensor response was increased with decreasing
teeth distance. This behavior was also observed for toluene
detection. In the WO3 microsensor with teeth distance of 2 m,
the highest sensor response was obtained. It was as high as 100
to 1.5 ppm xylene at 550 . It is noteworthy that the high
sensor response is attained only WO3 sensing layer without any
noble metal sensitizer such as Pd. The similar effect to the micro
gap effect was observed as the teeth distance effect in the
interdigitated microelectrode, suggesting that the sensor response
at interface between oxide and electrode was higher than that at

grain boundary in the aromatic VOCs sensing using WO3 sensor.

This indicates that the high sensitivity aromatic VOC sensor can
be developed with the electrode design of submicron level.
Figure 3 depicts the sensor response of the WO3 microsensor
with 2 m interdigitated electrode to dilute aromatic VOCs at
500 as a function of gas concentration. The sensor responses
to 0.01 ppm aromatic VOCs were sufficiently high (higher than 3),
particularly the sensor response was as high as 6 to 0.01 ppm
xylene. The WO3 microsensor with 2 m interdigitated electrode
exhibited the excellent response-recovery characteristics, i.e., the
90% response time of 10 sec and the 90% recovery time of 35 sec
to 1.5 ppm xylene at 500 . This suggests that the WO3
microsensor can be used as the high sensitivity VOC sensor.

Fig. 1.
Schematic drawing of Au interdigitated

Fig. 3. Sensor responses of WO3 thin film sensors

(2-50) to aromatic VOCs (500 )

Fig. 2. Sensor responses (Ra/Rg) to 1.5 ppm xylene of

WO3 thin film sensors as a function of operating