Semiconductor gas sensors utilize porous polycrystalline resistors made of semiconducting oxides. The working principle involves the receptor function played by the surface of each oxide grain and the transducer function played by each grain boundary. In addition, the utility factor of the sensing body also takes part in determining the gas response. Therefore, the concepts of sensor design are determined by considering each of these three key factors. The requirements are selection of a base oxide with high mobility of conduction electrons and satisfactory stability (transducer function), selection of a foreign receptor which enhances surface reactions or adsorption of target gas (receptor function), and fabrication of a highly porous, thin sensing body (utility factor). Recent progress in sensor design based on these factors is described.
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