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P.R. Ohodnicki; J.P. Baltrus; T.D. Brown


The ability to accurately and safely monitor hydrogen concentration is of significant importance for abroad range of energy, defense, aviation, and aerospace applications with one of the most notable applications being leak detection for hydrogen above the lower explosive limit. Optical-based approaches offer significant safety advantages as compared to electrical-based sensors and Pd or AuPd-alloys are commonly utilized as the functional sensor layer due to a well-known, characteristic, and selective interaction with H-2. In this work, optical fiber-based sensors comprised of Pd and AuPd alloy nanoparticle incorporated SiO2 thin films deposited onto unclad multimode silica-based optical fiber evanescent wave absorption spectroscopy sensing elements have been investigated. Selective, sensitive, and monotonic H-2 sensing responses have been demonstrated at levels significantly greater than the lower explosive limitin the presence of CO and O-2 near room temperature. A tendency for partial oxidation of the noble metal nanoparticles upon exposure to oxidizing atmospheres is confirmed directly through X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, particularly at elevated temperatures. Monotonic H-2 sensing responses are also observed at elevated temperatures in cases where oxygen is not introduced into the atmosphere. However, more complex sensing responses in multi-component elevated temperature gas streams containing oxidizing and reducing species can be observed which likely result from oxidation and reduction of noble metal nanoparticles. These results demonstrate that the incorporation of noble metals such as Pd and Pd-alloy nanoparticles into inert dielectric matrices such as SiO2 can impart new optical sensing functionality potentially useful for H-2 sensing applications. Published by Elsevier B.V.







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