Development of a New Generation of Ammonia Sensors on Printed Polymeric Hotplates
Conducting polyaniline-based chemiresistors on printed polymeric micro-hotplates were developed, showing sensitive and selective detection of ammonia vapor in air. The devices consist of a fully inkjet-printed silver heater and interdigitated electrodes on a polyethylene naphthalate substrate, separated by a thin dielectric film. The integrated heater allowed operation at elevated temperatures, enhancing the ammonia sensing performance. The printed sensor designs were optimized over two different generations, to improve the thermal performance through careful design of the shape and dimension of the heater element. A vapor-phase deposition polymerization technique was adapted to produce polyaniline sensing layers doped with poly(4-styrenesulfonic acid). The resulting sensor had better thermal stability and sensing performance when compared with conventional polyaniline-based sensors, and this was attributed to the polymeric dopant used in this study. Improved long-term stability of the sensors was achieved by electrodeposition of gold on the silver electrodes. Response to sub-parts-per-million concentrations of ammonia even under humid conditions was observed.