Tuning the detection limit in hybrid organic-inorganic materials for improving electrical performance of sensing devices


Research in hybrid electronics has included advances in materials, devices and architectures. However, in practice, controversy still exists on some details which limit hybrid materials to high-performance applications, such as processing–structure–design–property relations. This paper describes a practical approach to enhancing the sensing performance of a prototype ammonia gas sensor based on electrical conductivity changes, percolation theory and current limitation to a semiconducting polymer-metal oxide medium. This device is based on fully-gravure printed polyaniline/indium - tin oxide nanocomposites, Pani100−xITOx [0 ≤ x≤ 100% (wt/wt)], layers on a freestanding high-density polyethylene substrate. We find that the electrical current of the device decreases and tends to saturate as the gas concentration increases, and the value of this electrical current limit (IL) depends on x: the higher the value of x, the smaller the IL, when the current that flows through the electronic device was dominated by the ITO-nanoparticle filled PAni, which increase the concentration of hopping carriers and contribute to the desired electrical response of a heterogeneous gas sensor. In this regime, we find a good linear relationship between x and ammonia concentration. These findings suggest new directions for future research on the development and investigation of organic-inorganic devices in which the electrical current variation is desired for enhanced sensitivity and stability of hybrid sensors.