Hybrid 3D structures of ZnO nanoflowers and PdO nanoparticles as a highly selective methanol sensor
The present study concerns the enhancement of methanol selectivity of three dimensional (3D) nanoflowers (NFs) of ZnO by dispersing nickel oxide (NiO) and palladium oxide (PdO) nanoparticles on the surface of the nanoflowers to form localized hybrid nano-junctions. The nanoflowers were fabricated through a liquid phase deposition technique and the modification was achieved by addition of NiCl and PdCl2 solutions. In addition to the detailed structural (like X-ray diffraction (XRD), electron dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), X-ray mapping, XPS) and morphological characterization (by field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM)), the existence of different defect states (viz. oxygen vacancy) was also confirmed by photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy. The sensing properties of the pristine and metal oxide nanoparticle (NiO/PdO)–ZnO NF hybrid sensor structures, towards different alcohol vapors (methanol, ethanol, 2-propanol) were investigated in the concentration range of 0.5–700 ppm at 100–350 °C. Methanol selectivity study against other interfering species, viz. ethanol, 2-propanol, acetone, benzene, xylene and toluene was also investigated. It was found that the PdO–ZnO NF hybrid system offered enhanced selectivity towards methanol at low temperature (150 °C) compared to the NiO–ZnO NF and pristine ZnO NF counterparts. The underlying mechanism for such improvement has been discussed with respective energy band diagram and preferential dissociation of target species on such 3D hybrid structures. The corresponding improvement in transient characteristics has also been co-related with the proposed model.