Three methods were used to fabricate ZnO-based room temperature liquid petroleum gas (LPG) sensors having interdigitated metal-semiconductor-metal (MSM) structures. Specifically, devices with Pd Schottky contacts were fabricated with: (1) un-doped ZnO active layers; (2) Pd-doped ZnO active layers; and (3) un-doped ZnO layers on top of Pd microstructure arrays. All ZnO films were grown on p-type Si(111) substrates by the sol-gel method. For devices incorporating a microstructure array, Pd islands were first grown on the substrate by thermal evaporation using a 100 μm mesh shadow mask. We have estimated the sensitivity of the sensors for applied voltage from -5 to 5 V in air ambient, as well as with exposure to LPG in concentrations from 500 to 3,500 ppm at room temperature (300 K). The current-voltage characteristics were studied and parameters such as leakage current, barrier height, reach-through voltage, and flat-band voltage were extracted. We include contributions due to the barrier height dependence on the electric field and tunneling through the barrier for the studied MSM devices. The Pd-enhanced devices demonstrated a maximum gas response at flat-band voltages. The study also revealed that active layers consisting of Pd microstructure embedded ZnO films resulted in devices exhibiting greater gas-response as compared to those using Pd-doped ZnO thin films or un-doped active layers. © 2013 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
Ali, G. M., Thompson, C. V., Jasim, A. K., Abdulbaki, I. M., & Moore, J. C. (2013). Effect of embedded pd microstructures on the flat-band-voltage operation of room temperature ZnO-based liquid petroleum gas sensors. Sensors (Switzerland), 13(12), 16801–16815. https://doi.org/10.3390/s131216801