Apparatus and methods for detecting selected chemical compounds in air or other gas streams at room or ambient temperature includes a liquid-free humidity-resistant amperometric sensor comprising a sensing electrode and a counter and reference electrode separated by a solid electrolyte. The sensing electrode preferably contains a noble metal, such as Pt black. The electrolyte is water-free, non-hygroscopic, and substantially water-insoluble, and has a room temperature ionic conductivity .gtoreq.10.sup.-4 (ohm-cm).sup.-1, and preferably .gtoreq.0.01 (ohm-cm).sup.-1. The conductivity may be due predominantly to Ag+ ions, as in Ag.sub.2 WO.sub.4.4AgI, or to F- ions, as in Ce.sub.0.95 Ca.sub.0.05 F.sub.2.95. Electrical contacts serve to connect the electrodes to potentiostating and detecting circuitry which controls the potential of the sensing electrode relative to the reference electrode, detects the signal generated by the sensor, and indicates the detected signal.
CONTRACTUAL ORIGIN OF INVENTION
The U.S. Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-31-109-ENG-38 between the U.S. Department of Energy and the University of Chicago representing Argonne National Laboratory. The U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, funded the work that lead to the invention.