Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Ashok Kumar, Ph.D.


Gas sensors, Pulsed laser deposition, Thin film, Absorption, Critical angle


Silver, gold, and copper metallic nanoparticle films have been utilized in various MEMS devices due to not only their electrical but also their optical properties. The focus of this research is to study the detection at room temperature of carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen (H2) via Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) phenomenon of silver-embedded Yttrium Stabilized Zirconium (Ag-YSZ) nanocomposite film, gold (Au) nanoparticle film, and an alloy film of silver-copper (Ag-Cu) , grown by the Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD). To determine the appropriate film materials for quick and accurate CO and H2 detection at room temperature with the PLD technique, the growth process was done repeatedly. Optical tools such as X-Ray Diffraction, Alpha Step 200 Profilometer, Atomic Force Microscopy, and Scanning Electron Microscopy were used to characterize thin films.

The gas sensing performance was studied by monitoring the SPR band peak behavior via UV/vis spectrophotometer when the films were exposed to CO and H2 and estimating the percent change in wavelength. The metallic nanoparticle films were tested for concentration of CO (100 to 1000 ppm) and H2 (1 to 10%). Silver based sensors were tested for the cross-selectivity of the gases. Overall the sensors have a detection limit of 100 ppm for CO and show a noticeable signal for H2 in the concentration range as low as 1%. The metallic films show stable sensing over a one-hour period at room temperature. The SPR change by UV/vis spectrophotometer shows a significant shift of 623 nm wavelength between 100 ppm CO gas and dry air at room temperature for the alloy films of Ag-Cu with a wider curve as compared to silver and gold films upon their exposure to CO and H2 indicating an improvement in accuracy and quick response.

The results indicate that in research of CO and H2 detection at room temperature, optical gas sensors rather than metal oxide sensors are believed to be effective due to not only the absence of chemical involvement in the process but also the sensitivity improvement and accuracy, much needed characteristics of sensors when dealing with such hazardous gases.