We explore potential applications of noise-driven nanoelectromechanical system (NEMS) inertial sensors which combine exceptional sensitivity to low power consumption making them ideal for portable gas sensors. First, we demonstrate the enhanced responsivity of MEMS Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) sensors (specifically targeting Acetone, Ethanol, and Isopropanol) when equipped with a selective, zinc oxide (ZnO)-based, Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) resulting in sensitivity ranging from 0.33 to 0.71 Hz/ppm and limits of detection from 4 to 9 ppb. These results surpass those achieved by ZnO-coated cantilevers by two orders of magnitude. This high sensitivity is attributed to the high porosity and large surface area of MOF. Then, we introduce a novel ∼250 nm thick NEMS sensor, made of a ZnO film, that serves as both structural and sensing layers. The ZnO NEMS sensor is noise-driven in air enabling simpler and low power consumption sensors. The sensor responsivity to VOCs was comparable to that of the MOF-MEMS sensor. Our findings pave the way for the development of MOF-coated NEMS sensors, promising groundbreaking advancements in the gas sensing field.


Hamza Mouharra, MASc candidate in Systems Design Engineering

Attending this seminar will count towards the graduate student seminar attendance milestone!