Development of a polyaniline nanofiber-based carbon monoxide sensor for hydrogen fuel cell application

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The sensing of carbon monoxide (CO) impurity contained in hydrogen fuel is a challenging work in the field of low temperature proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). In the present work a chemiresistive gas sensor based on polyaniline (PANI) nanofibers was developed to detect CO in hydrogen. The sensor was fabricated by a template-free electrochemical polymerization of aniline on an interdigitated electrode. The most distinctive feature of the fabricated sensor was the formation of a horizontally oriented, monolayered PANI nanofiber network on the insulating gap area. The gas sensing character of the PANI nanosensor was evaluated by measuring the change in electrical resistance when gas atmosphere was changed from pure hydrogen to mixtures of CO in hydrogen. The results demonstrated that the PANI nanosensor had an excellent responding ability on CO in hydrogen with a concentration as low as 1 ppm. The influences of parameters, such as nanostructure, doping level, dopants, and CO concentrations, on the sensing characters of the nanosensor were discussed. The responding mechanism was attributed to the different binding sites of CO and H2 with PANI: H2 with the protonated amine nitrogen atoms and CO with the unprotonated amine nitrogen atoms. In view of its novel sensing mechanism and high sensing performance, the fabricated sensor is very promising to be applied as a new type of CO sensor to prevent the catalysis poisoning of PEMFC. Highlights: A chemiresistive polyaniline nanofiber sensor is developed to detect CO in hydrogen. The nanofiber sensor is fabricated by a template-free electrochemical polymerization. The nanofibers have a horizontally oriented, monolayered network structure. The sensor shows a reversible, rapid response on 1 ppm CO in hydrogen. The sensor can be used to prevent the CO poisoning of catalyst in PEM fuel cell.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13529-13535
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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