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Nanoscale. 2012 Sep 21;4(18):5651-8. doi: 10.1039/c2nr31131c. Epub 2012 Aug 7.

Room temperature formaldehyde sensors with enhanced performance, fast response and recovery based on zinc oxide quantum dots/graphene nanocomposites.

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State Key Laboratory of Materials Processing and Die & Mould Technology, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, No. 1037, Luoyu Road, Wuhan 430074, PR China.


Novel zinc oxide quantum dots (ZnO QDs) decorated graphene nanocomposites were fabricated by a facile solution-processed method. ZnO QDs with a size ca. 5 nm are nucleated and grown on the surface of the graphene template, and its distribution density can be easily controlled by the reaction time and precursor concentration. The ZnO QDs/graphene nanocomposite materials enhance formaldehyde sensing properties by 4 times compared to pure graphene at room temperature. Moreover, the sensors based on the nanocomposites have fast response (ca. 30 seconds) and recovery (ca. 40 seconds) behavior, excellent room temperature selectivity and stability. The gas sensing enhancement is attributed to the synergistic effect of graphene and ZnO QDs. The electron transfer between the ZnO QDs and the graphene is due to oxidation process of the analyzed gas on the ZnO QDs' surface. This proposed gas sensing mechanism is experimentally proved by DRIFT spectra results. The ZnO QDs/graphene nanocomposites sensors have potential applications for monitoring air pollution, especially for harmful and toxic VOCs (volatile organic compounds).

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