We obtained Gallium-doped and Aluminum-doped Zinc Oxide nanocrystals by non aqueous colloidal heat-up synthesis. These nanocrystals are transparent in the visible range but exhibit localized surface plasmon resonances (LSPRs) in the near IR range, tunable and shiftable with dopant concentration (up to 20% mol nominal). GZO and AZO inks can be deposited by spin coating, dip coating or spray coating on glass or silicon, leading to uniform and high optical quality thin films. To enhance absorbtion in the infrared region, samples can be annealed in inert or reductant atmosphere (N2/Argon or H2 in Argon) resulting in plasmon intensity enhancement due to oxygen vacancies and conduction band electrons density increment. Then IR plasmon has been exploited for gas sensing application, according to the plasmon shifting for carrier density variations, due to electrons injection or removal by the target gas/sample chemical interactions. To obtain a functional sensor at low temperature, another treatment was investigated, involving surfanctant removal by dipping deposited films in a solution of organic acid, tipically oxalic acid in acetonitrile; such process could pave the way to obtain similar sensors deposited on plastics. Finally, GZO and AZO thin films proved sensibility to H2 and NOx, and in particular circumstances also to CO, from room temperature to 200°C. Sensibility behavior for different dopant concentration and temperture was investigated both in IR plasmon wavelengths (~2400 nm) and zinc oxide band gap (~370 nm). An enhancement in sensitivity to H2 is obtained by adding Pt nanoparticles, exploiting catalytic properties of Platinum for hydrogen splitting.
Marco Sturaro, Enrico Della Gaspera, Alessandro Martucci, and Massimo Guglielmi, "Low temperature near infrared plasmonic gas sensing of gallium and aluminum doped zinc oxide thin films from colloidal inks (Presentation Recording)," Proc. SPIE 9558, Nanostructured Thin Films VIII, 95580H (Presented at SPIE Nanoscience + Engineering: August 13, 2015; Published: 5 October 2015); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2187436.4519371386001.
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