We report on the preparation of capacitive-type relative humidity sensors incorporating plasma-activated multi-wall carbon nanotube (p-MWCNT) electrodes and on their performance compared with existing commercial technology. Highly open porous conductive electrodes, which are almost impossible to obtain with conventional metal electrodes, are fabricated by spray-depositing MWCNT networks on a polyimide layer. Oxygen plasma activation of the MWCNTs is also explored to improve the water adsorption of the MWCNT films, by introducing oxygen-containing functional groups on the CNT surface. Polyimide humidity sensors with optimized p-MWCNT network electrodes exhibit exceptionally fast response times (1.5 for adsorption and 2 s for desorption) and high sensitivity (0.75 pF/% RH). These results may be partially due to their percolated pore structure being more accessible for water molecules, expending the diffusion of moisture to the polyimide sensing film, and partially due to the oxygenated surface of p-MWCNT films, allocating more locations for adsorption or attraction of water molecules to contribute to the sensitivity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering