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7 May 2010 Distributed optical microsensors for hydrogen leak detection and related applications
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Significant advances have recently been made to develop optically interrogated microsensor based chemical sensors with specific application to hydrogen vapor sensing and leak detection in the hydrogen economy. We have developed functionalized polymer-film and palladium/silver alloy coated microcantilever arrays with nanomechanical sensing for this application. The uniqueness of this approach is in the use of independent component analysis (ICA) and the classification techniques of neural networks to analyze the signals produced by an array of microcantilever sensors. This analysis identifies and quantifies the amount of hydrogen and other trace gases physisorbed on the arrays. Selectivity is achieved by using arrays of functionalized sensors with a moderate distribution of specificity among the sensing elements. The device consists of an array of beam-shaped transducers with molecular recognition phases (MRPs) applied to one surface of the transducers. Bending moments on the individual transducers can be detected by illuminating them with a laser or an LED and then reading the reflected light with an optical position sensitive detector (PSD) such as a CCD. Judicious selection of MRPs for the array provides multiple isolated interaction surfaces for sensing the environment. When a particular chemical agent binds to a transducer, the effective surface stresses of its modified and uncoated sides change unequally and the transducer begins to bend. The extent of bending depends upon the specific interactions between the microcantilever's MRP and the analyte. Thus, the readout of a multi-MRP array is a complex multidimensional signal that can be analyzed to deconvolve a multicomponent gas mixture. The use of this sensing and analysis technique in unattended networked arrays of sensors for various monitoring and surveillance applications is discussed.
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Scott R. Hunter, James F. Patton, Michael J. Sepaniak, Panos G. Datskos, and D. Barton Smith "Distributed optical microsensors for hydrogen leak detection and related applications", Proc. SPIE 7693, Unattended Ground, Sea, and Air Sensor Technologies and Applications XII, 769307 (7 May 2010);


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