Scientists from Skoltech have developed highly sensitive sensors based on cobalt oxide nanoflakes to detect various alcohols in the air. New sensors can be used both in medical diagnostics and in the detection of toxic methanol in the air. The study is published in the journal Journal of Materials Chemistry A .
As smart devices and the Internet of things enter people's fashion and everyday lives, so does the need for small and highly sensitive sensors. The ability to quickly and accurately determine the composition of the air inhaled by a person is one of the priority tasks. First of all, air must be safe for humans, therefore, sensors, for example, detecting carbon monoxide, are already actively used. Alcohols, such as methanol, can cause serious poisoning.
Scientists from Skoltech together with scientists from the Technical University. Yuri Gagarin in Saratov, under the guidance of a professor at the Laboratory of Nanomaterials at the Center for Photonics and Quantum Materials Skoltech Albert Nasibulin, developed a simple technology for creating highly sensitive sensors to detect various alcohols in the air. The new detector relates to chemoresistive sensors, the principle of which is based on changes in the resistance of the material during the adsorption of molecules of the analyte. Most often, semiconductors — transition metal oxides — are used for such sensors.
A feature of the new technology is that the sensitive material - cobalt oxide - is grown directly on the sensor electrodes. This avoids additional stages in the manufacturing process and creates sensors in minutes.
“The obtained nanoparticles, namely cobalt oxide nanoflakes, can significantly increase the sensitivity of the sensor to vapors of various alcohols, which makes it possible to use the sensor in medical diagnostics to determine markers of human diseases in the air exhaled by a person - to assess his health,” says the researcher Skolteha Fedor Fedorov.
In addition, the new sensor can help detect toxic substances in the air.
“This development allowed us to advance even further in the study of the selective determination of hazardous substances such as methyl alcohol, and, already in our new studies, to solve such a problem as the determination of methanol mixed with ethanol: for example, everyone remembers the problem of poisoning with tincture of Hawthorn” . The results obtained may also be relevant for other drugs based on ethyl alcohol, as well as for a wide range of other products, ”commented Professor Albert Nasibulin, head of the study.
Quasi-2D Co3O4 Nanoflakes as Efficient Gas Sensor versus Alcohol VOCs. Fedor Fedorov et al. Journal of Materials Chemistry A, https://doi.org/10.1039/D0TA00511H.
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