Robust Nitrogen Oxide/Ammonia Sensors for On-Board Emissions Control

Eric  Brosha, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Mixed-potential sensors fabricated via well-established commercial manufacturing methods present a promising avenue to enable the widespread utilization of NOx, hydrocarbon, and ammonia sensing technology.  These devices are fundamentally simple, inexpensive, and robust owing to their close relationship to the well-established and ubiquitous automotive Lambda (λ) sensor. However, for much of the reported research and development history of zirconia-based mixed potential sensors, this has not always been the case: serious limitations such as aging and signal drift, a high degree of device-to-device irreproducibility, and the inability to target the detection of specific gas species have conspired to keep mixed potential electrochemical sensors out of the marketplace. The electrochemical sensors team at LANL has worked in collaboration with Electro-Science Laboratories (ESL, King of Prussia, PA) to fabricate planar mixed-potential sensors via the readily scalable, cost-effective high temperature co-fired ceramic (HTCC) technology already employed in the manufacturing of planar O2 λ-sensors. In this forum, we will present a brief background of the operating principles of these devices, our work over the past decade that has lead to unique and innovative technical approaches and solutions to address many of the commercialization barriers, the technology readiness level of these sensors today, and finally prospects for commercialization.

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