An electrochemical hydrocarbon sensor and materials for use in sensors. A suitable proton conducting electrolyte and catalytic materials have been found for specific application in the detection and measurement of non-methane hydrocarbons. The sensor comprises a proton conducting electrolyte sandwiched between two electrodes. At least one of the electrodes is covered with a hydrocarbon decomposition catalyst. Two different modes of operation for the hydrocarbon sensors can be used: equilibrium versus non-equilibrium measurements and differential catalytic. The sensor has particular application for on-board monitoring of automobile exhaust gases to evaluate the performance of catalytic converters. In addition, the sensor can be utilized in monitoring any process where hydrocarbons are exhausted, for instance, industrial power plants. The sensor is low cost, rugged, sensitive, simple to fabricate, miniature, and does not suffer cross sensitivities.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.