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Chemical Detection With A Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube Capacitor

E. Snow, F. Perkins, E. J. Houser, S. Badescu, T. Reinecke
Published 2005 · Materials Science, Medicine

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We show that the capacitance of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) is highly sensitive to a broad class of chemical vapors and that this transduction mechanism can form the basis for a fast, low-power sorption-based chemical sensor. In the presence of a dilute chemical vapor, molecular adsorbates are polarized by the fringing electric fields radiating from the surface of a SWNT electrode, which causes an increase in its capacitance. We use this effect to construct a high-performance chemical sensor by thinly coating the SWNTs with chemoselective materials that provide a large, class-specific gain to the capacitance response. Such SWNT chemicapacitors are fast, highly sensitive, and completely reversible.
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