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A room-temperature TiO2-nanotube hydrogen sensor able to self-clean photoactively from environmental contamination

  • Gopal K. Mor (a1), Maria A. Carvalho (a2), Ooman K. Varghese (a3), Michael V. Pishko (a2) and Craig A. Grimes (a4)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 March 2011

Described is a room-temperature hydrogen sensor comprised of a TiO2-nanotube array able to recover substantially from sensor poisoning through ultraviolet (UV) photocatalytic oxidation of the contaminating agent; in this case, various grades of motor oil. The TiO2 nanotubes comprising the sensor are a mixture of both anatase and rutile phases, having nominal dimensions of 22-nm inner diameter, 13.5-nm wall thickness, and 400-nm length, coated with a 10-nm-thick noncontinuous palladium layer. At 24 °C, in response to 1000 ppm of hydrogen, the sensors show a fully reversible change in electrical resistance of approximately 175,000%. Cyclic voltammograms using a 1 N KOH electrolyte under 170 mW/cm2 UV illumination show, for both a clean and an oil-contaminated sensor, anodic current densities of approximately 28 mA/cm2 at 2.5 V. The open circuit oxidation potential shows a shift from 0.5 V to −0.97 V upon UV illumination.

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