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Solid State Gas Sensors

Los Alamos National Laboratory

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LANL’s suite of solid state gas sensors opens new markets for gas monitoring and process optimization.
LANL’s suite of solid state gas sensors opens new markets for gas monitoring and process optimization.

Technology Marketing SummaryOver the past decade, scientists and engineers at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) have developed a family of solid state gas sensors that are accurate, reliable, and inexpensive to manufacture. LANL is now inviting participation from companies ready to cooperate with our gas sensor researchers, in-license select technologies, and commercialize our innovative solid state gas sensor technologies.DescriptionGas sensors are widely used to ensure human safety, protect the environment, and optimize the performance of control systems. The total cost of ownership (TCO) for gas sensors today is a limiting factor in improving safety, air quality, and energy efficiency. The TCO includes not only the up-front cost of sensors but also the cost of performance degradation and replacement. The TCO is particularly high when sensors are needed in larger numbers, subjected to harsh environments and required to maintain accuracy over long periods of time.

By working with LANL, companies gain access to highly innovative solid state gas sensor technology while minimizing R&D risks and expenditures. Our partners gain access to an advanced gas sensor research team as well as to LANL’s extensive solid state gas sensor intellectual property portfolio. We invite you to explore the gas sensor business opportunities available with LANL today.
BenefitsReduced cost of R&D
Reduced risk of R&D
Reduced development cycle
Design freedom (IP)
Applications and IndustriesSolid state gas sensor design
Gas sensor evaluation and testing
Mixed potential sensor design
Degradation testing and reduction
More InformationOther patents pending:
  • Mixed Potential HC Sensor with Low Sensitivity to Methane and CO
  • Thin Film Mixed Potential Sensors
  • Solid State Gas Sensor
  • Explosives Detection Sensor
  • Tape Casting Method for the Manufacture of Sensors
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 5,543,025
Solid state oxygen sensor
Solid state oxygen sensors are provided with a yttria-doped zirconia as an electrolyte and use the electrochemical oxygen pumping of the zirconia electrolyte. A linear relationship between oxygen concentration and the voltage arising at a current plateau occurs when oxygen accessing the electrolyte is limited by a diffusion barrier. A diffusion barrier is formed herein with a mixed electronic and oxygen ion-conducting membrane of lanthanum-containing perovskite or zirconia-containing fluorite. A heater may be used to maintain an adequate oxygen diffusion coefficient in the mixed conducting layer.
Los Alamos National Laboratory 08/06/1996
Patent 5,695,624
Solid state oxygen sensor
A potentiometric oxygen sensor is formed having a logarithmic response to a differential oxygen concentration while operating as a Nernstian-type sensor. Very thin films of mixed conducting oxide materials form electrode services while permitting diffusional oxygen access to the interface between the zirconia electrolyte and the electrode. Diffusion of oxygen through the mixed oxide is not rate-limiting. Metal electrodes are not used so that morphological changes in the electrode structure do not occur during extended operation at elevated temperatures.
Los Alamos National Laboratory 12/09/1997
Patent 6,277,256
Enhanced electrodes for solid state gas sensors
A solid state gas sensor generates an electrical potential between an equilibrium electrode and a second electrode indicative of a gas to be sensed. A solid electrolyte substrate has the second electrode mounted on a first portion of the electrolyte substrate and a composite equilibrium electrode including conterminous transition metal oxide and Pt components mounted on a second portion of the electrolyte substrate. The composite equilibrium electrode and the second electrode are electrically connected to generate an electrical potential indicative of the gas that is being sensed. In a particular embodiment of the present invention, the second electrode is a reference electrode that is exposed to a reference oxygen gas mixture so that the electrical potential is indicative of the oxygen in a gas stream.
Los Alamos National Laboratory 08/21/2001
Patent 6,605,202
Electrodes for solid state gas sensor
A mixed potential electrochemical sensor for the detection of gases has a ceria-based electrolyte with a surface for exposing to the gases to be detected, and with a reference wire electrode and a sensing wire electrode extending through the surface and fixed within the electrolyte as the electrolyte is compressed and sintered. The electrochemical sensor is formed by placing a wire reference electrode and a wire sensing electrode in a die, where each electrode has a first compressed planar section and a second section depending from the first section with the second section of each electrode extending axially within the die. The die is filled with an oxide-electrolyte powder and the powder is pressed within the die with the wire electrodes. The wire-electrodes and the pressed oxide-electrolyte powder are sintered to form a ceramic electrolyte base with a reference wire electrode and a sensing wire electrode depending therefrom.
Los Alamos National Laboratory 08/12/2003
Patent 6,656,336
Method for forming a potential hydrocarbon sensor with low sensitivity to methane and CO
A hydrocarbon sensor is formed with an electrolyte body having a first electrolyte surface with a reference electrode depending therefrom and a metal oxide electrode body contained within the electrolyte body and having a first electrode surface coplanar with the first electrolyte surface. The sensor was formed by forming a sintered metal-oxide electrode body and placing the metal-oxide electrode body within an electrolyte powder. The electrolyte powder with the metal-oxide electrode body was pressed to form a pressed electrolyte body containing the metal-oxide electrode body. The electrolyte was removed from an electrolyte surface above the metal-oxide electrode body to expose a metal-oxide electrode surface that is coplanar with the electrolyte surface. The electrolyte body and the metal-oxide electrode body were then sintered to form the hydrocarbon sensor.
Los Alamos National Laboratory 12/02/2003
Technology Status
Development StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
PrototypeAvailable - for Licensing10/07/201004/04/2013

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