Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Chemical Engineering

Major Professor

John T. Wolan, Ph.D.


Cubic silicon carbide, Thermal detection, Thermal conductivity, Heat transfer, Silicon-on-insulator


The hydrogen (H2) gas sensing mechanism driving 3C-SiC resistive gas sensors is investigated in this work in which two hypotheses are proposed. One hypothesis involves the surface adsorption of H2 on the sensor surface with the adsorbed molecules influencing the flow of current in a resistive gas sensor, termed the surface adsorption detection mechanism. The second hypothesis includes the transfer of heat from the sensor to the gas, producing a change in the temperature of the device when the heat transfer characteristics of the gas change, termed the thermal detection mechanism. The heat transfer characteristics of the gas are dependent on the thermal conductivity of the gas, a property which is a strong function of gas composition. Thus, the thermal detection mechanism mainly detects changes in the thermal conductivity of a gas or gas mixture.Initial experiments suggested the surface adsorption mechanism as the detection mechanism of resistive 3C-SiC gas sensors. However, these experiments were performed in the absence of device temperature measurements. Recent experiments in which the device temperature was measured with a resistance temperature detector (RTD) in thermal contact with the device strongly support the thermal detection mechanism as being responsible for hydrogen gas detection. Experimental observations show the temperature of the resistive 3C-SiC hydrogen gas sensors changes greatly with changing hydrogen gas composition. For example, a 3C-SiC/SOI resistive sensor biased at 10 Vdc displayed a change in temperature from ~400°C to ~216°C, correlating to a change in current from ~41 mA to ~6mA, upon the introduction of 100% H2. The this 3C-SiC/SOI resistive sensor, this large decrease in temperature caused a large increase in resistance which is detected as a decrease in current. Several different experiments have also been performed to confirm the thermal detection mechanism hypothesis.