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Nanotechnology. 2009 Dec 9;20(49):495502. doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/20/49/495502. Epub 2009 Nov 6.

Fabrication and good ethanol sensing of biomorphic SnO2 with architecture hierarchy of butterfly wings.

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State Key Lab of Metal Matrix Composites, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, People's Republic of China.


Using super-hydrophobic butterfly wings as templates, we developed an aqueous sol-gel soakage process assisted by ethanol-wetting and followed by calcination to fabricate well-organized porous hierarchical SnO(2) with connective hollow interiors and thin mesoporous walls. The exquisite hierarchical architecture of SnO(2) is faithfully replicated from the lightweight skeleton of butterfly wings at the level from nano- to macro-scales. On the basis of the self-assembly of SnO(2) nanocrystallites with diameter around 7.0 nm, the interconnected tubes (lamellas), the fastigiated hollow tubers (pillars) and the double-layered substrates further construct the biomorphic hierarchical architecture. Benefiting from the small grain size and the unique hierarchical architecture, the biomorphic SnO(2) as an ethanol sensor exhibits high sensitivity (49.8 to 50 ppm ethanol), and fast response/recovery time (11/31 s to 50 ppm ethanol) even at relatively low working temperature (170 degrees C).

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