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Low Power, Ultra Dense MOX Gas Sensors & Methods for Making the Same

Metal Oxide (MOX) gas sensors are a specific type of air pitted gaseous sensors with diverse applications in many areas, such as the detection of flammable or hazardous gases, and the aging of food stored in warehouses or refrigerators. Using material such as tin oxide, zinc oxide, titanium oxide and others, an array of several MOX materials can detect the presence of almost any gaseous substance. In the operation of MOX sensors, and other air pitted gaseous sensors, the microhotplate (μHP) must maintain elevated temperatures (300-500°C) to permit maximum sensitivity to MOX gases. In this way, the μHP consumes nearly all of the power used by the MOX sensor. Fortunately, researchers at the Univ. of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL Lafayette) have recently invented methods of incorporating silica aerogel into the MOX sensor design that permits a significant reduction in power consumption, a dramatic increase in sensor density and precludes the need of a recessed airpit in the MOX sensor design. Further, the developed CMOS compatible Aerogel technology has applications in 3D ICs for heat management, and low capacitance material for very fast ICs.