In the Gas Sensor Laboratory gas sensors and sensor array systems based on QCMs (Quartz Crystal Microbalance), SAWs (Surface Acoustic Wave) and IDTs (Inter Digital Transducer) are being developed and tested. As chemical sensitive materials special organic compounds which are mostly designed and produced in-house are employed. According to the needs and requirements of the addressed application and the corresponding target analytes sensors are selected for the final sensor array system. In such a “electronic nose” an array of partially selective sensors in combination with multivariate data evaluation methods is used for sample classification and analyte quantification. Sensor array systems both on prototype and end-product level for different applications have already been developed.
QCM and SAW based sensors are mass sensitive chemical gas sensors. The QCM and SAW technology is a sensitive balance capable of measuring changes in mass on a molecular level. As molecules flow over the crystal they bind to the sensitive materials coated on the sensor surface and then the vibration frequency changes. The difference in frequency is used to characterize in real time, as a label-free method molecular interactions. IDT sensors are conductivity based sensors. Smallest changes in the conductivity in the microampere range are recorded on the IDT using an electrometer. The conductivity changes are induced in the sensitive material on the IDT through the chemical interactions with the analyte molecules.
Sensors and sensor array systems are being developed for the detection of various VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), TIC (Toxic Industrial Compounds), CWA (Chemical Warfare Agents) simulants and explosives.
- Development of chemical sensors and sensor array instrumentation
- Investigation of the surface interactions of the analyte with the sensitive materials
- Characterization and testing of new sensing materials such as phthalocyanines, oxime, etc.
- Gas sensing characteristics of different transducer technologies (QCM, SAW, IDT, etc.)
- Determination of ambient air quality with real-time measurements
- Development of devices and system for the detection and analysis of hazardous chemical agents (CWAs, TICs, BTEX, explosives etc.).
- Chemical Gas Sensors are used today in many industrial areas due to the advantages such as selectivity, sensitivity, making real-time analysis, low cost and easiness of use.
- Petrochemistry : Oil, natural gas pipelines, leakage control in refineries etc.
- Mining : Flammable, explosive gas control, etc.
- Cosmetic : Control of gases used for production etc.
- Automotive : Exhaust gas control, air quality control in the car etc.
- Food : Food quality, determination of shelf-life or degradation, product classification, quality-control etc.
- Security : Safety switch-controls / Safety of airport, tunnel, subway locations etc. / safety of public transport / narcotic drugs detection / fire, flame or smoke detection etc.
- Defence : Chemical warfare agents, biological warfare agents, detection of mines and explosives etc.
- Medicine : Medical, biological analysis and diagnostics, respiratory gases control etc.
- Agriculture : Control of toxic pesticides etc.
- Environmental : Air pollution, waste materials control etc.