Nitric oxide (NO) released from combustion facilities and automobiles adversely affects the respiratory systems and environment. Hence, the development of a NO gas sensor with high sensing response to measure NO gas levels is significantly commendable. Herein, we report the growth of ZnO:ZnGa2O4 dual-phase films on the c-plane sapphire substrates using radio-frequency magnetron sputtering for NO gas sensors. The microstructures and morphology of ZnO:ZnGa2O4 films were systematically investigated using X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and atomic force microscopy. The XRD patterns revealed the polycrystalline nature of the ZnO:ZnGa2O4 film with (222) preferred orientation. The SEM micrographs showed the presence of grain boundaries in the nanostructures over the surface of the film due to the recrystallization of grains upon annealing the film at 700 °C. This ZnO:ZnGa2O4 film was employed to fabricate the NO gas sensor, which demonstrates significantly high sensor response of 28.6 at 400 °C operating temperature with the quick response time of 8 s and recovery time of 140 s upon exposure to 100 ppm NO gas concentration. The ZnO:ZnGa2O4-based gas sensor is found to be highly selective for NO gas among NO, CO2, and SO2 gases. The gas-sensing mechanism behind the high response of ZnGa2O4-based NO gas sensors is described. The results achieved in this study are particularly important in terms of the development of technologies for the early detection of poisonous and hazardous gases from polluting industries and metropolises, which is crucial for environmental security.
- gas-sensing mechanism
- high sensor response
- NO gas sensor
- radio-frequency magnetron sputtering
- ZnO:ZnGaO films