Light-activated gas sensing activity of ZnO nanotetrapods enhanced by plasmonic resonant energy from Au nanoparticles
Abstract High response and low working temperature are two essential requirements for promising chemi-resistive gas sensors, considering the issues of practical usage, safety, stability, energy conservation, etc, while traditional sensors usually work at high temperatures. One typical approach to solve this drawback is using photon activated process, but its overall activation response is not high enough for room-temperature operation. Utilization of localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) can increase light absorption and energetic carrier generation. Based on this, we developed a high-response and room-temperature sensor by decorating 3-dimensional-structured ZnO nanotetrapods (ZnO NTPs) with Au nanoparticles (Au NPs) through a facile sputtering-annealing process. Compared to pure ZnO NTPs, this hybrid nanostructure enhanced detection of volatile vapor components including ethanol, formaldehyde, acetone and methanol under 6 mW/mm 2 white light illumination at room temperature. Representatively, the sensing response increased remarkably from 5.5 to 62 towards 500 ppm ethanol vapor. It also exhibits decent long-term stability and a better sensing performance than a commercial thermal-activated alcohol sensor operating at an optimal temperature of 370 °C. The reported LSPR assisted approach holds strong potential for practical devices and pave a new way for the development of room-temperature gas sensor with high-performance. Highlights Light-activated chemi-resistive gas sensor operating at room temperature significantly improved by localized surface plasmon resonance. A simple and contaminant-free sputtering-annealing process was developed to decorate ZnO nanotetrapods with Au nanoparticles. This gas sensor exhibited long-term stability and higher response to ethanol vapor than a commercial alcohol vapor sensor operating at 370 °C.
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