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Gas detectors that measure the concentration of a target gas by oxidizing or reducing the target gas at an electrode and measuring the resulting current.
Principle of Operation
Electrochemical sensors operate by reacting with the gas of interest and producing an electrical signal proportional to the gas concentration.
A typical electrochemical sensor consists of a sensing electrode and a counter electrode separated by a thin layer of electrolyte.
Gas that comes in contact with the sensor first passes through a small capillary-type opening and then diffuses through a hydrophobic barrier, and eventually reaches the electrode surface. This approach is adopted to allow the proper amount of gas to react at the sensing electrode to produce a sufficient electrical signal while preventing the electrolyte from leaking out of the sensor. The gas that diffuses through the barrier reacts at the surface of the sensing electrode involving either an oxidation or reduction mechanism. These reactions are catalysed by the electrode materials specifically developed for the gas of interest. With a resistor connected across the electrodes, a current proportional to the gas concentration flows between the anode and the cathode. The current can be measured to determine the gas concentration. Because a current is generated in the process, the electrochemical sensor is often described as an amperometric gas sensor or a micro fuel cell.