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Sensors (Basel). 2019 Jul 11;19(14). pii: E3068. doi: 10.3390/s19143068.

Fully Inkjet-Printed CuO Sensor on Flexible Polymer Substrate for Alcohol Vapours and Humidity Sensing at Room Temperature.

Author information

1
Centre of Polymer Systems, University Institute, Tomas Bata University in Zlin, trida Tomase Bati 5678, 760 01 Zlin, Czech Republic.
2
Centre of Polymer Systems, University Institute, Tomas Bata University in Zlin, trida Tomase Bati 5678, 760 01 Zlin, Czech Republic. ivo@kuritka.net.

Abstract

This work focuses on an inkjet-fabricated sensor based on copper oxide nanostructured particles on polymer flexible substrate for the sensing of alcohol vapours and humidity at room temperature. Nanoparticles were prepared by a microwave-assisted solvothermal sealed vessel synthesis method. The ink composition was developed on the basis of viscosity and surface tension optimization by the addition of polymeric steric surfactant and dispersant. The printing process was optimized with the help of non-dimensional criteria. Silver nanoink was used for the printing of an interdigitated pattern on a PET substrate which was overprinted by the copper oxide ink, thus obtaining a flexible flat sensor. Material design and all fabrication steps of the sensor respected the temperature limitation given by the thermal stability of the polymer substrate. Printed layers and motifs were characterized microscopically and by resistance measurement. The effectiveness of the prepared sensor was demonstrated and studied by measuring the response to saturated vapours at room temperature. The sensing layer showed the opposite resistance response to stimuli than expected for the well-known p-type sensing mechanism of CuO sensors operated at high temperatures. In addition to vapour sorption, condensation and desorption influencing electron, proton and ionic conductivity, manifestation of another mechanism was observed and an explanation suggested in terms of the electrochemical mechanism.

KEYWORDS:

copper oxide; gas sensor; inkjet; low temperature; nanoparticles; polymer substrate; sensing mechanism

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