Methods and approaches of utilizing ionic liquids as gas sensing materials
Gas monitoring is of increasing significance for a broad range of applications in the fields of environmental and civil infrastructures, climate and energy, health and safety, industry and commerce. Even though there are many gas detection devices and systems available, the increasing needs for better detection technologies that not only satisfy the high analytical standards but also meet additional device requirements (e.g., being robust to survive under field conditions, low cost, small, smart, more mobile), demand continuous efforts in developing new methods and approaches for gas detection. Ionic Liquids (ILs) have attracted a tremendous interest as potential sensing materials for the gas sensor development. Being composed entirely of ions and with a broad structural and functional diversity, i.e., bifunctional (organic/inorganic), biphasic (solid/liquid) and dual-property (solvent/electrolyte), they have the complementing attributes and the required variability to allow a systematic design process across many sensing components to enhance sensing capability especially for miniaturized sensor system implementation. The emphasis of this review is to describe molecular design and control of IL interface materials to provide selective and reproducible response and to synergistically integrate IL sensing materials with low cost and low power electrochemical, piezoelectric/QCM and optical transducers to address many gas detection challenges (e.g., sensitivity, selectivity, reproducibility, speed, stability, cost, sensor miniaturization, and robustness). We further show examples to justify the importance of understanding the mechanisms and principles of physicochemical and electrochemical reactions in ILs and then link those concepts to developing new sensing methods and approaches. By doing this, we hope to stimulate further research towards the fundamental understanding of the sensing mechanisms and new sensor system development and integration, using simple sensing designs and flexible sensor structures both in terms of scientific operation and user interface that can be miniaturized and interfaced with modern wireless monitoring technologies to achieve specifications heretofore unavailable on current markets for the next generation of gas sensor applications.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Ionic Liquids: Editors collection for RSC Advances