We report investigations on resistive material SnO2: Cu (9 wt. %) evaluated and optimized for the application of gas sensor. SnO2: Cu has been thoroughly characterized by using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The deconvolution of XPS spectra confirms the existing surface reactive species in the form of states of the metal orbital and the presence of multiple pathways for the detection of CO vis-à-vis sintering temperature effect. Enhanced CO pickup at the sintering temperature of   650 0 C (wide range and low sensitivity) and 750 0 C (short range and high sensitivity) has been observed. The CO sensing and XPS data correlates well along with the nonconventional use of variation in average XPS background intensity of general scan seems to be related to optimized sensitivity conditions of various gases.