A document discusses gold-on-polymer as one of the novel sensor types developed for part of the sensor development task. Standard polymer- carbon composite sensors used in the JPL Electronic Nose (ENose) have been modified by evaporating 15 nm of metallic gold on the surface. These sensors have been shown to respond to alcohols, aromatics, ammonia, sulfur dioxide, and elemental mercury in the parts-per-million and parts-per-billion concentration ranges in humidified air.

The results have shown good sensitivity of these films operating under mild conditions (operating temperatures 23–28 ºC and regeneration temperature up to 40 ºC). This unique sensor combines the diversity of polymer sensors for chemical sensing with their response to a wide variety of analytes with the specificity of a gold sensor that shows strong reaction/binding with selected analyte types, such as mercury or sulfur.

This work was done by Kenneth Manatt of Santa Barbara Research and Margie Homer, Margaret Ryan, Adam Kisor, Abhijit Shevade, April Jewell, and Hanying Zhou of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

In accordance with Public Law 96-517, the contractor has elected to retain title to this invention. Inquiries concerning rights for its commercial use should be addressed to:

Innovative Technology Assets Management


Mail Stop 202-233

4800 Oak Grove Drive

Pasadena, CA 91109-8099

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Refer to NPO-44997, volume and number of this NASA Tech Briefs issue, and the page number.

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Gold-on-Polymer-Based Sensing Films for Detection of Organic and Inorganic Analytes in the Air

(reference NPO-44997) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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This article first appeared in the June, 2008 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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