Volatile Organic Compounds and Gas Sensors
Environmental sensors have been given immense attention because of ever-increasing indoor and outdoor pollutants including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and various different toxic gases. Almost every human activity including cooking, driving, industrial operation, air conditioning, etc. releases harmful vapours to the environment. Hence, there is a need for air quality monitoring in our living and working spaces for healthy living. The VOC/gas sensors based on nanostructured metal oxides work with high sensitivity and ppb level limits of detection due to enhanced surface sites for adsorption of target gases. However, the high working temperature (>350 °C) of VOC sensors is a challenge for their practical and smart applicability. In an environment where humidity, pressure, and temperature change randomly, a tiny fluctuation in humidity, pressure, or temperature can cause significant variation can affect the calibration of a sensor. Further, selectivity amongst VOCs/gases is also important to avoid any cross talks and false signals. For designing a real life sensor, engineered materials are required for multi-component detection at near ambient conditions of temperature and humidity. We are working on organic-inorganic hybrid materials for efficient VOC/gas detection that can be used for smart and healthy living.
(Contributors to this work: Gaurav Bahuguna and Mohit Verma)