Solid state ceramic gas sensors based on interfacing ionic conductors with semiconducting oxides

Elisabetta Di Bartolomeo*, Enrico Traversa, Manuela Baroncini, Vega Kotzeva, R. Vasant Kumar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Solid-state ceramic NOx sensors based on interfacing an ionic conductor (NASICON) with semiconducting oxides (rare earth perovskite-type oxides) were investigated. NASICON powders were pressed into thimbles 12 mm long with 3 mm inner diameter and 4 mm outer diameter, then sintered at 1270°C in air. A Pt wire was attached to the outer surface of the tubes using a platinum paste. A uniform Au/Pd (60 wt.%) coating, permeable to oxygen but not to NOx, was sputtered for 40 min on the sensor external surface to allow the exposure of both electrodes to the gas atmosphere without using reference air. Windowless energy-dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) was used to evaluate the chemical composition of the Au-Pd layer before and after the performance of sensing tests. Sodalite powder as an auxiliary phase was tightly packed into the NASICON thimbles with a Pt lead for the electrical contact. To get an in-situ NO conversion to NO2, a Pt-loaded alumina powder was used as a catalyst and incorporated with the sensor on the top of the auxiliary phase. Nano-sized and chemically-pure rare earth perovskite-type oxide (LaFeO3, SmFeO3, NdFeO3 and LaCoO3) powders, prepared by the thermal decomposition of the corresponding hexacyanocomplexes, were also used in the electrochemical cells. Each of the tested oxides was packed into the thimbles replacing the sodalite and the Pt-loaded alumina catalyst. Tests were performed also using only the perovskitic oxides. The microstructure of the materials tested was evaluated using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The NO2 sensing properties of the prototype sensors were investigated at controlled temperature (in the range 300-600°C) by measuring the electromotive force (EMF) at different NO2 concentrations (in the range 2-2000 ppm in air). Some measurements were performed at various NO concentrations diluted with Ar. The results obtained showed a promising NO2 sensing performance when ferrites were used. SmFeO3 has a lower catalytic effect on NO oxidation than the Pt-loaded alumina catalyst, and has a similar effect to sodalite when used as auxiliary phase. The perovskite-type oxides are more preferable as auxiliary phase than sodalite because they improve the stability of the electrochemical sensor performances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2691-2699
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the European Ceramic Society
Issue number16
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Perovskitic oxides
  • Semiconducting oxides
  • Solid-state NO sensors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Materials Chemistry


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