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Novel Sensors for Monitoring Indoor Air Quality

B. Deore, D.D.M. Wayner, D. Stewart, G.A. Diaz-Quijada
National Research Council of Canada, CA

Keywords: sensors, indoor air quality, polyaniline


Conjugated polymers are an important class of materials due to their luminescent and electrical properties which result from electronic charge delocalization. Consequently, these polymers provide an ideal platform for new sensors and the main advantage of this system resides on the ability to partially tune the response of the sensor by tailoring the chemical structure of the polymer with a molecular recognition element and/or by changing the electronic properties of the polymer. The present work is motivated by Health Canada’s new guidelines for formaldehyde in indoor environments which has become very important in the design of state-of-the-art “smart buildings” which should present a balance between comfort, energy consumption and heath by providing automated ventilation when deemed necessary. New cost effective sensors for monitoring air quality in indoor environments will be required by smart buildings. The present work presents proof-of-concept chemical sensors based on conjugated polymers such as polyaniline derivatives that possess a chemical recognition site for the detection of formaldehyde and other common indoor air polluting carbonyl species such as aldehydes and ketones at the parts-per-billion concentration. Implementation of an array of such sensors gives rise to an electronic nose.
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