Porphyrin-functionalized single-walled carbon nanotube chemiresistive sensor arrays for VOCs

Mahendra D. Shirsat, Tapan Sarkar, James Kakoullis, Nosang V. Myung, Bharatan Konnanath, Andreas Spanias, Ashok Mulchandani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Scopus citations


Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) have been used extensively for sensor fabrication due to their high surface-to-volume ratio, nanosized structure, and interesting electronic property. Lack of selectivity is a major limitation for SWNT-based sensors. However, surface modification of SWNTs with a suitable molecular recognition system can enhance the sensitivity. On the other hand, porphyrins have been widely investigated as functional materials for chemical sensor fabrication due to their several unique and interesting physicochemical properties. Structural differences between free-base and metal-substituted porphyrins make them suitable for improving the selectivity of sensors. However, their poor conductivity is an impediment in the fabrication of prophyrin-based chemiresistor sensors. The present attempt is to resolve these issues by combining free-base and metallo-porphyrins with SWNTs to fabricate SWNT-porphyrin hybrid chemiresistor sensor arrays for monitoring volatile organic compounds in the air. Differences in sensing performance were noticed for porphyrins with different functional groups and with different central metal atoms. The mechanistic study for acetone sensing was done using field-effect transistor measurements and revealed that the sensing mechanism of the ruthenium octaethyl porphyrin hybrid device was governed by the electrostatic gating effect, whereas the iron tetraphenyl porphyrin hybrid device was governed by electrostatic gating and Schottky barrier modulation in combination. Further, the recorded electronic responses for all hybrid sensors were analyzed using a pattern-recognition analysis tool. The pattern-recognition analysis confirmed a definite pattern in response for different hybrid materials and could efficiently differentiate analytes from one another. This discriminating capability of the hybrid nanosensor devices opens up the possibilities for further development of highly dense nanosensor arrays with suitable porphyrins for E-nose applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3845-3850
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 9 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • General Energy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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