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12 May 2005 Chemical microsensors based on polymer fiber composites
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There is an urgent need for new chemical sensors for defense and security applications. In particular, sensors are required that can provide higher sensitivity and faster response in the field than existing baseline technologies. We have been developing a new solid-state chemical sensor technology based on microscale polymer composite fiber arrays. The fibers consist of an insulating polymer doped with conducting particles and are electrospun directly onto the surface of an interdigitated microelectrode. The concentration of the conducting particles within the fiber is controlled and is near the percolation threshold. Thus, the electrical resistance of the polymer fiber composite is very sensitive to volumetric changes produced in the polymer by vapor absorption. Preliminary results are presented on the fabrication and testing of the new microsensor. The objective is to take advantage of the very high surface to volume ratio, low thermal mass and linear geometry of the composite fibers to produce sensors exhibiting an extremely high vapor sensitivity and rapid response. The simplicity and low cost of a resistance-based chemical microsensor makes this sensing approach an attractive alternative to devices requiring RF electronics or time-of-flight analysis. Potential applications of this technology include battlespace awareness, homeland security, environmental surveillance, medical diagnostics and food process monitoring.
© (2005) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Royal F. Kessick, Natalia Levit, and Gary C. Tepper "Chemical microsensors based on polymer fiber composites", Proc. SPIE 5795, Chemical and Biological Sensing VI, (12 May 2005);

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