Year/Course: 2009-2010, Lent 2010

Contacts: Professor Stephen Elliott, Chemistry, & Professor Bill Milne, CAPE
Mentor: Dr. Mark Priest

A team of researchers from Chemistry and Engineering have worked together to develop novel gas sensors based on carbon nanotube technology. These sensors have the potential to be low-power, compact and lightweight, as well as to be highly sensitive to low concentrations of gases.

The new sensors use an array of accurately-spaced carbon nanotube electrode pairs, and measure the current generated in the gas by an applied voltage. Each gas gives a unique “fingerprint” as the applied voltage is varied. The accurate and close spacing (of only a few micrometres) of the electrode pairs enables low voltages down to one volt to be used for this technique. Although there are many different methods and sensors available for detecting gases, the researchers believe that this new method will prove to be highly valuable for certain applications, delivering either greater sensitivity or lower power and size requirements than existing methods.

The i-Teams role will be to identify the possible applications for these new gas sensors, and to recommend the gases and industries which could benefit most from a small, lightweight and low-power gas sensor.

The preliminary session for this project will be on Monday December 7th at 6pm at A1 Nevile’s Court, Trinity College