Document Type : Research Article
1 Department of Physics, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA 15705, USA
2 Nanonex Corporation, Monmouth Junction, New Jersey 08852, USA
3 Department of Physics, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00936, USA
Diamond-based sensors have shown great potential in the past few years due to their unique physicochemical properties. We report on the development of high-performance nitrogen-doped ultrananocrystalline diamond (UNCD) nanowire-based methane (CH4) gas sensors, taking advantage of a large surface-to-volume ratio and a small active area offered by the 1D nanowire geometry. The morphologic surface and crystalline structures of UNCD are also characterized by using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and Raman scattering, respectively. By using synthesized nanowire arrays combined with 4-pin electrical electrodes, prototypic highly sensitive CH4 gas sensors have been designed, fabricated and tested. Various parameters including the sensitivity, response and recovery times, and thermal effect on the performance of the gas sensor have also been investigated in order to quantitate the sensing ability. Enhanced by the small grain size and porosity of the nanowire structure, fabricated nanowire UNCD sensors demonstrated a high sensitivity to CH4 gas at room temperature down to 2 ppm, as well as fast response and recovery times which are almost 10 times faster than that of regular nanodiamond thin film based sensors.