The concept of thin film bulk acoustic resonators as selective CO2 gas sensors

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Hoffmann, Romy ; Schreiter, Matthias ; Heitmann, Johannes (2017)

Carbon dioxide (CO<sub>2</sub>) is a gas that well represents air quality in indoor environments as well as being an important greenhouse gas. However, the reliable and affordable sensing of environmental CO<sub>2</sub> at room temperature, with techniques other than optical spectroscopy, remains an unsolved problem to this day. One major challenge for solid state sensors is the realisation of adequate selectivity, especially towards changing humidity. The thin film bulk acoustic resonator (FBAR) is a MEMS (Microelectromechanical systems) device that can not only detect gas-induced mass changes but also changes in the acoustic velocity and density of its layers. This multi-sensing provides a suitable platform for selective gas sensing. In this work we present studies done on polyaminosiloxane- and ethyl cellulose-functionalised FBARs regarding CO<sub>2</sub> sensitivity, selectivity towards humidity, and stability. We demonstrate how CO<sub>2</sub> and humidity signals can be separated and that CO<sub>2</sub> can be sensed with a resolution of 50 ppm between 400 and 1000 ppm. Using the Mason model, we show how the acoustic velocity and density of an absorption layer can be determined and how changes in those parameters affect the resonance frequency shift. The understanding of these results ultimately presents a tool to theoretically separate any number of gas analytes.
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