Posted: May 5, 2010

Semiconductor transistor-type hydrogen sensor wins gold medal at Geneva Inventions Exhibition

(Nanowerk News) National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) Microelectronics and Chemical Engineering students, led by Department of Electrical Engineering and Institute of Microelectronics Prof. Wen-Chau Liu and Department of Chemical Engineering Prof. Huey-Ing Chen, have won a gold medal at the 38th International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva with their Semiconductor Transistor-Type Hydrogen Sensor.
Semiconductor Transistor-Type Hydrogen Sensor
Semiconductor Transistor-Type Hydrogen Sensor
The Semiconductor Transistor-Type Hydrogen Sensor is small in size and light in weight. It only requires a little power to operate, saving both energy and carbon. The sensor can detect a hydrogen leak within 10 seconds. It has high stability and is helpful to public safety.
Prof. Wen-Chau Liu pointed out, “The Semiconductor Transistor-Type Hydrogen Sensor symbolizes a cross-disciplinary cooperation, integrating electronic, electrical, semiconductor and chemical fields. Traditional transistors mainly adopt silicon (Si) as the fundamental materials, but it cannot survive under high temperature, high radiation or harsh environment such as acid corrosion. On the contrary, the Semiconductor Transistor-Type Hydrogen Sensor applies metals, such as platinum (Pt) and palladium (Pd), which are active catalysts for hydrogen. They have the advantages of high thermal stability, high radiation resistance and excellent chemical resistance.”
Prof. Wen-Chau Liu further explained, “The Semiconductor Transistor-Type Hydrogen Sensor is small in size and light in weight. It is only 0.6g after unpacking. It only requires less than 50 mW of operation power. It can detect a hydrogen leak with a concentration as low as 5 ppm within 10 seconds. The sensor can operate between room temperature and 120° C. With further integration, it can be applied on Integrated Circuit (IC), Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS), and communications.”
The Semiconductor Transistor-Type Hydrogen Sensor is mainly applied to public safety, such as hydrogen leak monitors of chemical factories, hydrogen input monitors required during semiconductor manufacture, hydrogen leak monitors of automotive and aerospace industrial fuel cells and hydrogen leak monitors required during medical equipment manufacture.
Prof. Liu emphasized, “It’s from the efforts of NCKU Chemical Engineering Prof. Huey-Ing Chen and students that we received so much attention at International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva and won the gold medal. By relying on the professional specialty of Prof. Chen, we used water to produce hydrogen and thus further improved the operation of the sensor. The vivid display of the Semiconductor Transistor-Type Hydrogen Sensor has received wide acclaim from the judges.”
Prof. Huey-Ing Chen added, “We came up with the method of water producing hydrogen about a week before the exhibition. The team was inspired by the idea that solar energy and electrolyzed water could both produce hydrogen. We decided to use electrolyzed water with a battery to produce hydrogen. After the water produces hydrogen, the hydrogen is poured into the sensor, which will instantly produce messages such as light and sound and create an early warning effect.
Source: National Cheng Kung University