Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .




TECH SPACE
New composite material as CO2 sensor
by Staff Writers
Zurich, Switzerland (SPX) Jun 11, 2015


ETH researchers' miniature CO2 sensor is pictured: chip with a thin layer of the polymer-nanoparticle composite. Image courtesy Fabio Bergamin / ETH Zurich. For a larger version of this image please go here.

Material scientists at ETH Zurich and the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam have developed a new type of sensor that can measure carbon dioxide (CO2). Compared with existing sensors, it is much smaller, has a simpler construction, requires considerably less energy and has an entirely different functional principle.

The new sensor consists of a recently developed composite material that interacts with CO2 molecules and changes its conductivity depending on the concentration of CO2 in the environment. ETH scientists have created a sensor chip with this material that enables them to determine CO2 concentration with a simple measurement of electrical resistance.

The basis of the composite material is a chain-like macromolecule (polymer) made up of salts called ionic liquids, which are liquid and conductive at room temperature. The name of the polymers is slightly misleading as they are called "poly(ionic liquid)s" (PIL), although they are solid rather than liquid.

Unexpected properties
Scientists worldwide are currently investigating these PIL for use in different applications, such as batteries and CO2 storage. From their work it is known that PIL can adsorb CO2. "We asked ourselves if we could exploit this property to obtain information on the concentration of CO2 in the air and thereby develop a new type of gas sensor," says Christoph Willa, doctoral student at the Laboratory for Multifunctional Materials.

Willa and Dorota Koziej, a team leader in the laboratory, eventually succeeded by mixing the polymers with specific inorganic nanoparticles that also interact with CO2. By experimenting with these materials, the scientists were able to produce the composite. "Separately, neither the polymer nor the nanoparticles conduct electricity," says Willa. "But when we combined them in a certain ratio, their conductivity increased rapidly."

Chemical changes in the material
It was not only this that astonished the scientists. They were also surprised that the conductivity of the composite material at room temperature is CO2-dependent.

"Until now, chemoresistive materials have displayed these properties only at a temperature of several hundred degrees Celsius," explains Koziej. Thus, existing CO2 sensors made from chemoresistive materials had to be heated to a high operating temperature. With the new composite material, this is not necessary, which facilitates its application significantly.

Exactly how the CO2-dependant changes in conductivity were produced is not yet clear; however, the scientists have found indications that a chemical change induced by the presence of CO2 occurs foremost at the interface between the nanoparticles and the polymers at the nanometre scale. "We think that CO2 effects the mobility of the charged particles in the material," says Koziej.

Breathing gauges for scuba divers
With the new sensor, scientists are able to measure CO2 concentration over a wide range - from a concentration of 0.04 volume percent in the earth's atmosphere to 0.25 volume percent.

Existing devices that can detect CO2 measure the optical signal and capitalise on the fact that CO2 absorbs infrared light. In comparison, researchers believe that with the new material much smaller, portable devices can be developed that will require less energy. According to Koziej, "portable devices to measure breathing air for scuba diving, extreme altitude mountaineering or medical applications are now conceivable".


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
ETH Zurich
Space Technology News - Applications and Research






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





TECH SPACE
Magnetic nanoparticles could offer alternative to rare Earth magnets
Richmond VA (SPX) Jun 10, 2015
A team of scientists at Virginia Commonwealth University has synthesized a powerful new magnetic material that could reduce the dependence of the United States and other nations on rare earth elements produced by China. "The discovery opens the pathway to systematically improving the new material to outperform the current permanent magnets," said Shiv Khanna, Ph.D., a commonwealth professo ... read more


TECH SPACE
Crashing comets may explain mysterious lunar swirls

Google Lunar X-Prize meets Yoda

China, Russia plan joint landing on the Moon

NASA's LRO Moves Closer to the Lunar Surface

TECH SPACE
Martian glass: Window into possible past life?

Red Planet Rising

Japanese space agency plans to get samples from Martian moon

Supersonic NASA parachute torn to pieces in latest test

TECH SPACE
How to sail through space on sunbeams - solar satellite leads the way

XCOR Selects Matrix Composites to Develop Lynx Chines

Spacecraft glitch shifts orbiting ISS: Russia

NASA's LDSD Project Completes Second Experimental Test Flight

TECH SPACE
Electric thruster propels China's interstellar ambitions

China Plans First Ever Landing On The Lunar Far Side

China ranked 4th among world space powers

3D printer making Chinese space suit parts

TECH SPACE
'Hard landing' as three astronauts return to Earth from ISS

Russian, US Scientists to Cooperate in Space Exploration Despite Sanctions

ISS Adjusts Orbit to Evade Space Junk

Space station back on track after mystery Soyuz glitch

TECH SPACE
Garvey Spacecraft selects Pacific Spaceport Complex

MSG-4 and S1 C4 make initial contact with Ariane 5 launcher hardware

SpaceX achieves pad abort milestone approval for Commercial Crew

Airbus developing reusable space rocket launcher

TECH SPACE
Helium-Shrouded Planets May Be Common in Our Galaxy

Hubble detects stratosphere-like layer around exoplanet

Work-experience schoolboy discovers a new planet

Hubble in 'Oh Planet, What Art Thou?' 25th Anniversary Video

TECH SPACE
Oculus virtual reality headsets set to ship in 2016

New composite material as CO2 sensor

Magnetic nanoparticles could offer alternative to rare Earth magnets

First US deep space weather satellite reaches final orbit




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.