Innovative sensors using nitride semiconductor materials for the detection of exhaust gases and water pollutants
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Microsensor technologies based on nitride semiconductor materials were developed as options for improved exhaust gas sensors in diesel exhaust systems. The main goals were to develop new sensors that can meet the requirements given by Peugeot PSA to meet upcoming EU emissions regulations for NO, NO2, and NH3 detection. Two different sensor technologies were developed based on Schottky junction and high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) devices. Novel materials such as BGaN and BGaN/GaN superlattice structures are explored. For each device, a comprehensive analytical model is developed and simulations are carried out to optimize and design the sensor devices. Materials growth is then conducted for the different semiconductor layers, followed by materials characterizations to ensure high quality materials. Device prototypes are fabricated using various materials and functional layer designs. For device testing, an experimental setup is developed. Our experimental results show excellent sensitivity; we also report selectivity between NO and NO2 for the first time for these types of devices. Finally, we modify our devices for other sensing applications such as the detection of other harmful gases and pollutants in liquid environments.