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Highly sensitive QCM odor sensors with lipopolymeric nanocomposites and physisorbed amphiphilic GC materials

Bartosz Wyszynski (Department of Physical Electronics, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan and Department of Chemical Engineering, Westpomeranian University of Technology, Szczecin, Poland)
Takamichi Nakamoto (Department of Physical Electronics, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan)

Sensor Review

ISSN: 0260-2288

Article publication date: 28 June 2011




This work has been motivated by the authors' long‐term research on odor‐sensing systems using acoustic wave‐based sensors and pattern recognition techniques. The sensors should be fabricated in such a way that they mimic performance of the olfactory receptors. In these terms, the purpose of this paper is to test a simple method for fabrication of quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) sensors by using nanocomposites and amphiphilic gas chromatography (GC) materials. The obtained sensors were intended to be highly sensitive to odorants at low concentrations and in high‐humidity conditions, as well as contributing to discrimination among odorant samples.


The proposed fabrication process consists of four stages: formation of all‐lipopolymeric layer on surface of the QCM sensor; preparation of lipopolymeric nanocomposites by means of chemisorption of lipopolymers onto nano‐Au; precipitation of the nanocomposites onto the lipopolymer‐coated QCM surface; and physisorption of amphiphilic GC materials onto the lipopolymer‐nanocomposite matrix. The fabricated sensors have been evaluated in the experiments of exposure to vapors of odorants at various concentrations and humidity levels.


The authors found that sensitivity of the sensors fabricated using the proposed method was much superior to that recorded for the sensors with all‐lipopolymeric and all‐amphiphilic films. The novel sensors' performance showed robustness against humidity and capability to discriminate among odorant samples at relatively low‐concentration levels.

Practical implications

The sensors fabricated using the proposed method can be useful in recognition of the odorant samples at ppb‐level under high humidity. Their performance has not been deteriorated even under high humidity.


The paper presents application of a relatively simple chemi‐/physisorption processes to form an odor‐interactive coating, with high sensitivity and robustness against humidity. To the best of the authors' knowledge, the method proposed here has not been presented by other groups.



Wyszynski, B. and Nakamoto, T. (2011), "Highly sensitive QCM odor sensors with lipopolymeric nanocomposites and physisorbed amphiphilic GC materials", Sensor Review, Vol. 31 No. 3, pp. 277-284.



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