Chemical Sensor Utilizing a Chemically Sensitive Electrode in Combination with Thin Diamond Layers


Vanderbilt researchers have developed a novel solid state chemical sensor using CVD diamond film. The system utilizes polycrystalline diamond technology combined with chemically-sensitive electrode layers to achieve high sensitivity and selectivity for a variety of chemical species.

Current Limitations/Challenges

• Silicon-based devices have a limited temperature operating range (<200 C)

• Current diamond-based chemical sensors fail to produce optimal results

• Sensors utilizing a Schottky barrier for chemical sensing have poor chemical sensitivity and selectivity

Technology Description

This innovative solid state chemical sensor combines polycrystalline diamond film with chemically sensitive electrodes to create a chemical sensor system with high sensitivity and selectivity. This system is capable of optimal operation in a wide variety of environments and situations.


• Conduction of current through sensor is electric field dominated, not barrier dominated (Schottky)

• Sensor can detect and control emission of hazardous chemicals over wide temperature range

• Hostile environment tolerance allows for new applications and uses

Commercial Applications

The field of solid state chemical sensor design is gaining interest due to the growing demand for reliable, inexpensive and portable systems for environmental monitoring, air quality, and food quality control, among numerous other applications. The present system can have potential applications in in-situ emission monitoring and control of toxic or combustible gases, detection of certain chemical species in liquids, and detection of enzymes for biochemical applications. The functionality of the new sensor can be extended by use of a "smart" sensor interface for diagnostics, self-calibration, fault tolerance, and multi-sensor functions.

Intellectual Property Status

Issued U.S. Patent No. 5,656,827

Vanderbilt Inventor Bios:

Weng Poo Kang, Ph.D.:

Jimmy Lee Davidson, Ph.D.:

David V. Kerns, Jr., Ph.D.:

Weng Poo KangJimmy DavidsonDavid Kerns
Licensing manager: 
Ashok Choudhury

Featured Video

Vanderbilt Patent Activity

View Vanderbilt University Patents

CTTC on Twitter