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Novel Array-Type Gas Sensors Using Conducting Polymers, and Their Performance for Gas Identification




Rapid development of the sensor system associated with full integration of the microelectronic and micromechanical components on one chip permits flexible control and monitoring of the sensor functions, and on-chip signal amplification and conditioning that notably improves the overall sensor performance [1]. However, the supersensor that we are aiming at is the stress sensor which can evaluate the nature of stressor or ~stress~ that cannot be easily expressed with the combination of the measurable physicochemical properties. Recently, we have developed the advanced array-type gas senor (with Drs. Y. Sakurai and K. Natsukawa) as a result of the Super Eye Image Sensor (SEIS) Project by the Foundation for Osaka Research Enterprise Companies (FORECS). The application of our stress sensor includes not only the detection of various odor gases as a part of stress signals, produced in the Stress-Responsive Bioprocess and inside the stressed human mouth, but also the detection of stressed proteins and cell membranes as schematically shown in Fig. 1.

The effective utilization of stress functions is indispensable to restructure the energy consuming multiple-step processes into the energy saving integrated micro-bioprocesses. The miniaturization of the sensor is, therefore, important and necessary. Micron scale cells recognize variations of the calcium flux and conformational change of proteins by stress-responsive functions of biomembranes. Much attention has already been paid to the artificial membranes (liposomes), which possess similar functions to biomembranes and sensitively interact with the stressed proteins and cells. This stress responsive interactions depend not only on the properties of proteins but also on the fluidity of liposome membrane surface [2-5]. Even modeling and break down of biomembrane systems should be achieved with keeping the specific fluidity properties of the membranes. We developed the new construction method of the novel array-type sensor integrated with conducting polymer.

Our novel array-type sensor system, related to the submitted patent [7], will promote further development and optimization of gas sensing microsystems (Fig.2). Furthermore, this micro device can be applied for the design and development of nanobiochip which contains micro sensors, channels, reactors, electrodes and filters etc.


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