Low power, lightweight vapor sensing using arrays of conducting polymer composite chemically-sensitive resistors

M. A. Ryan, Nathan S Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)


Arrays of broadly responsive vapor detectors can be used to detect, identify, and quantify vapors and vapor mixtures. One implementation of this strategy involves the use of arrays of chemically-sensitive resistors made from conducting polymer composites. Sorption of an analyte into the polymer composite detector leads to swelling of the film material. The swelling is in turn transduced into a change in electrical resistance because the detector films consist of polymers filled with conducting particles such as carbon black. The differential sorption, and thus differential swelling, of an analyte into each polymer composite in the array produces a unique pattern for each different analyte of interest. Pattern recognition algorithms are then used to analyze the multivariate data arising from the responses of such a detector array. Chiral detector films can provide differential detection of the presence of certain chiral organic vapor analytes. Aspects of the spaceflight qualification and deployment of such a detector array, along with its performance for certain analytes of interest in manned life support applications, are reviewed and summarized in this article.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-170
Number of pages12
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2001



  • Conducting polymer composites
  • Electronic nose
  • Vapor detectors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Biochemistry

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