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09/27/2017 HYU News > Academics


Low Energy Consuming Utilization of Chemical Sensors

Kim Hyeon-woo (Division of Material Science and Engineering)


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When a chemical sensor is embedded into a mobile device, the significant sensing properties are amplified by low costs, high response, great stability, and robustness. However, there is one property of a chemical sensor that hinders technicians from utilizing it with a mobile device--unbearable power consumption. In his paper, “Self-heating effects on the toluene sensing of Pt-functionalized SnO2-ZnO core-shell nanowires,” professor Kim Hyeon-woo of the Division of Material Science and Engineering proposes a self-power sensor that allows low energy consumption of 31 μW at 5 V.
Kim is explaining about the novel discovery of his research.

In order to apply chemical sensors to mobile devices, the temperature of the sensor should be high enough to be generated. However, in the process of raising the temperature, the magnitude of energy consumption is vast. “Chemical sensors have extreme advantages such as cheap costs, small size, excellent stability, and robustness. However, the high energy consumption prevents scientists to consider them as an option for mobile devices,” said Kim.
To reduce the energy consumption, Kim and his fellow researchers have exhibited a self-heated nanowire sensor through this study. “For the reduction of energy usage, we synthesized Pt nanoparticle-functionalized SnO2–ZnO core–shell nanowires. The shells of these wires utilized for the chemical sensor are thicker than usual. This allows a larger self-heating ability and a higher sensor response,” explained Kim. SnO2–ZnO is a synthesis of tin dioxide and zinc oxide that results in a strong core-shell (class of materials which have properties intermediate between those of small, individual molecules and those of bulk, crystalline semiconductors).
The total energy required for this chemical sensor to be self-heated was 31 μW at 5 V. “This novel discovery was possible due to the groundbreaking nanowires that allowed the sensor to self-heat even at room temperature,” said Kim. Thus, this research, has ultimately suggested the potential application of chemical sensors into mobile devices, fully utilizing their peculiar sensing properties. “The sensor industry in South Korea will now be able to gain international competitiveness by exporting this novel sensor, which is currently in the process of development,” proposed Kim.
Kim is holding a sensor that he's currently developing.

The academic life of Kim has been devoted to nanostructure and sensors. His original research area was on nanostructure (a structure, especially a semiconductor device, that has dimensions of only a few nanometers). “I have always studied nanostructure, and I realized that the practical application of this leads to sensors,” explained Kim. Gas and radioactive sensors are Kim’s further research subjects, which he looks forward to utilizing in real life in a few years. “Pragmatic application of dramatic discoveries in research is difficult, but I will try my best to improve this industry,” revealed Kim.
Kim Ju-hyun
Photos by Choi Min-ju 
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