Adjusting surface coverage of Pt nanocatalyst decoration for selectivity control in CMOS-integrated SnO2 thin film gas sensors

F. Sosada-Ludwikowska, L. Reiner, L. Egger, E. Lackner, J. Krainer, R. Wimmer-Teubenbacher, V. Singh, S. Steinhauer, P. Grammatikopoulos*, A. Koeck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Smart gas-sensor devices are of crucial importance for emerging consumer electronics and Internet-of-Things (IoT) applications, in particular for indoor and outdoor air quality monitoring (e.g., CO2 levels) or for detecting pollutants harmful for human health. Chemoresistive nanosensors based on metal-oxide semiconductors are among the most promising technologies due to their high sensitivity and suitability for scalable low-cost fabrication of miniaturised devices. However, poor selectivity between different target analytes restrains this technology from broader applicability. This is commonly addressed by chemical functionalisation of the sensor surface via catalytic nanoparticles. Yet, while the latter led to significant advances in gas selectivity, nanocatalyst decoration with precise size and coverage control remains challenging. Here, we present CMOS-integrated gas sensors based on tin oxide (SnO2) films deposited by spray pyrolysis technology, which were functionalised with platinum (Pt) nanocatalysts. We deposited size-selected Pt nanoparticles (narrow size distribution around 3 nm) by magnetron-sputtering inert-gas condensation, a technique which enables straightforward surface coverage control. The resulting impact on SnO2 sensor properties for CO and volatile organic compound (VOC) detection via functionalisation was investigated. We identified an upper threshold for nanoparticle deposition time above which increased surface coverage did not result in further CO or VOC sensitivity enhancement. Most importantly, we demonstrate a method to adjust the selectivity between these target gases by simply adjusting the Pt nanoparticle deposition time. Using a simple computational model for nanocatalyst coverage resulting from random gas-phase deposition, we support our findings and discuss the effects of nanoparticle coalescence as well as inter-particle distances on sensor functionalisation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1127-1134
Number of pages8
JournalNanoscale Advances
Issue number4
StatePublished - 15 Jan 2024


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