A highly selective and sensitive detection of the plant hormone ethylene, particularly at low concentrations, is essential for controlling the growth, development, and senescence of plants, as well as for ripening of fruits. However, this remains challenging because of the non-polarity and low reactivity of ethylene. Herein, a strategy for detecting ethylene at a sub-ppm-level is proposed by using oxide semiconductor chemiresistors with a nanoscale oxide catalytic overlayer. The SnO2 sensor coated with the nanoscale catalytic Cr2O3 overlayer exhibits rapid sensing kinetics, good stability, and an unprecedentedly high ethylene selectivity with exceptional gas response (Ra/Rg − 1, where Ra represents the resistance in air and Rg represents the resistance in gas) of 16.8 at an ethylene concentration of 2.5 ppm at 350 °C. The sensing mechanism underlying the ultraselective and highly sensitive ethylene detection in the unique bilayer sensor is systematically investigated with regard to the location, configuration, and thickness of the catalytic Cr2O3 overlayer. The mechanism involves the effective catalytic oxidation of interfering gases into less- or non-reactive species, without limiting the analyte gas transport. The sensor exhibits a promising potential for achieving a precise quantitative assessment of the ripening of five different fruits.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
© 2020 The Authors. Published by WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
- ethylene sensors
- fruit ripening
- metal oxide gas sensors
- oxide semiconductor chemiresistors
- plant hormones
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Materials Science(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)