Exploitation of spatiotemporal information and geometric optimization of signal/noise performance using arrays of carbon black-polymer composite vapor detectors

Shawn M. Briglin, Michael S. Freund, Phil Tokumaru, Nathan S Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

55 Citations (Scopus)


We have investigated various aspects of the geometric and spatiotemporal response properties of an array of sorption-based vapor detectors. The detectors of specific interest are composites of insulating organic polymers filled with electrical conductors, wherein the detector film provides a reversible dc electrical resistance change upon the sorption of an analyte vapor. An analytical expression derived for the signal/noise performance as a function of detector volume implies that there is an optimum detector film volume which will produce the highest signal/noise ratio for a given carbon black-polymer composite when exposed to a fixed volume of sampled analyte. This prediction has been verified experimentally by exploring the response behavior of detectors having a variety of different geometric form factors. We also demonstrate that useful information can be obtained from the spatiotemporal response profile of an analyte moving at a controlled flow velocity across an array of chemically identical, but spatially nonequivalent, detectors. Finally, we demonstrate the use of these design principles, incorporated with an analysis of the changes in detector signals in response to variations in analyte flow rate, to obtain useful information on the composition of analytes and analyte mixtures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-74
Number of pages21
JournalSensors and Actuators, B: Chemical
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2002



  • Conducting polymer vapor sensors
  • Sensor arrays
  • Spatiotemporal effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Electrochemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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