ACS Sens 2019 May 1;4(5):1279-1290. Epub 2019 May 1.
School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy , Arizona State University , Tempe , Arizona 85287 , United States.
Semiconducting 2D metal oxides have attracted great research interests for gas-sensing applications because of their considerable specific surface area and highly homogeneous surface. Developing a method for fabricating thin films of 2D metal oxides is crucial for minimizing the negative effects on sensing performance caused by slow diffusion. In this work, a simple, versatile, and highly reproducible self-assembly method is developed for fabricating monolayer film sensors made from metal oxide nanosheets with much superior sensing performance compared with their thick film counterparts. To prepare the monolayer film sensors, a monolayer film of metal oxide nanosheets, self-assembled at the air-water interface, is transferred onto a sensor substrate. The CuO monolayer sensors prepared with this self-assembly method show much improved gas sensitivity (sensor signal: 350% vs 100% at 5 ppm of HS) and faster response and recovery rate (τ: 20 s vs 110 s; τ: 120 s vs 320 s) than the thick film sensors prepared from the same sensing material. The enhanced sensing performance demonstrated by the monolayer film of CuO nanosheets is explained quantitively with a modified coupled reaction-diffusion model. Similar enhancement on gas-sensing performance is also observed for the ZnO-nanosheet-based monolayer sensors prepared by the same self-assembly method.