We obtained extremely high and selective sensitivity to NO2 gas by fabricating graphene-SnO2 nanocomposites using a commercial microwave oven. Structural characterization revealed that the products corresponded to agglomerated structures of graphene and SnO2 particles, with small secondary SnOx (x ≤ 2) nanoparticles deposited on the surfaces. The overall oxygen atomic ratio was decreased with the appearance of an SnOx (x < 2) phase. By the microwave treatment of graphene-SnO2 nanocomposites, with the graphene promoting efficient transport of the microwave energy, evaporation and redeposition of SnOx nanoparticles were facilitated. The graphene-SnO2 nanocomposites exhibited a high sensor response of 24.7 for 1 ppm of NO2 gas, at an optimized temperature of 150 °C. The graphene-SnO2 nanocomposites were selectively sensitive to NO2 gas, in comparison with SO2, NH3, and ethanol gases. We suggest that the generation of SnOx nanoparticles and the SnOx phase in the matrix results in the formation of SnO2/SnO2 homojunctions, SnO2/SnOx (x < 2) heterojunctions, and SnO2/graphene heterojunctions, which are responsible for the excellent sensitivity of the graphene-SnO2 nanocomposites to NO2 gas. In addition, the generation of surface Sn interstitial defects is also partly responsible for the excellent NO2 sensing performance observed in this study.
- NO sensing
- gas sensor