Characterization of the temporal response profile of carbon black-polymer composite detectors to volatile organic vapors

Shawn M. Briglin, Nathan S. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


The relative differential resistance responses of carbon black-poly(ethylene-co-vinyl acetate) (PEVA) composite vapor detectors were evaluated in response to short rise time (<2 ms for a 17 ms pulse length) square pulses of acetone, n-hexane, methanol, 2-propanol, or toluene, in a background of synthetic air. The use of ultrathin films, along with a rapid vapor delivery system, facilitated measurement of the rapid time response available from this examplary carbon black-polymer composite chemiresistive film for the detection of common organic vapors. Detectors formed from very thin (<200 nm) PEVA-carbon black composites produced steady-state responses within 17 ms upon exposure to methanol and produced steady-state responses within 90 ms upon exposure to toluene, acetone, and n-hexane. In accord with Fickian diffusion, the response times of the relative differential resistance of PEVA-carbon black detectors to analyte exposures were proportional to the square of the film thickness, l, in the range 510 ≤ l ≤ 5700 nm. Additionally, the relative differential resistance versus time profiles of PEVA-carbon black detectors were well fit by a simple finite difference model based on Fickian analyte diffusion, using a single analyte diffusion coefficient, for a variety of different film thicknesses and analyte concentrations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11031-11042
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number40
Publication statusPublished - Oct 9 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry

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