MEMS-based Sensor Detects Low-concentration Hydrogen Gas

2015/12/03 12:22
Tsuneyuki Miyake
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Chino Corp developed a measuring instrument that uses a sensor capable of detecting hydrogen gas with a concentration of 2% or less.

Chino exhibited the instrument at System Control Fair 2015, which runs from Dec 2 to 4, 2015, at Tokyo Big Sight. For the measurement of the concentration of hydrogen gas, an MEMS (micro electro mechanical system) is used. The company considers that it can be used for the development of fuel cells, etc.

Chino developed the hydrogen gas-sensing part in collaboration with Mitsuteru Kimura, professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Tohoku Gakuin University. A minute nichrome (Ni) heater and thermocouple temperature sensor are mounted on a silicon (Si) substrate, and gas can flow on the surface.

The thermal conductivity of hydrogen gas is higher than that of air. Therefore, when the concentration of hydrogen gas is high, the temperature of the heater lowers. This temperature change is detected by the temperature sensor to estimate gas concentration.

Development of fuel-cell vehicles is gaining momentum. And Chino plans to commercialize the measuring instrument, considering that there are needs for measuring instruments in the field of fuel cells.