Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Nanoscale Science and Engineering


Nanoscale Engineering

Content Description

1 online resource (ii, 161 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Michael A Carpenter

Committee Members

Nathaniel Cady, Kathleen Dunn, Paul Ohodnicki Jr., John Hartley


gold, high temperature, hydrogen, lithography, plasmonics, sensor, Nanoparticles, Nanocomposites (Materials), Gold compounds, Yttrium compounds, Optical detectors, Pollution control equipment, Aircraft exhaust emissions, Power-plants

Subject Categories

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology


The monitoring of polluting gases such as CO and NOx emitted from gas turbines in power plants and aircraft is important in order to both reduce the effects of such gases on the environment as well as to optimize the performance of the respective power system. The need for emissions monitoring systems is further realized from increased regulatory requirements that are being instituted as a result of the environmental impact from increased air travel. Specifically, it is estimated that the contributions from aircraft emissions to total NOx emissions will increase from 4% to 17% between 2008 and 2020. Extensive fuel cost savings as well as a reduced environmental impact would therefore be realized if this increased air traffic utilized next generation jet turbines which used a emission/performance control sensing system. These future emissions monitoring systems must be sensitive and selective to the emission gases, reliable and stable under harsh environmental conditions where the operation temperatures are in excess of 500C within a highly reactive environment. Plasmonics based chemical sensors which use nanocomposites comprised of a combination of gold nano particles and Yttria Stabilized Zirconia (YSZ) has enabled the sensitive (PPM) and stable detection (100s of hrs) of H2, NO2 and CO at temperatures of 500 C. The detection method involves measuring the change in the localized Surface Plasmon Resonance (LSPR) characteristics of the Au- YSZ nano composite and in particular, the plasmon peak position. Selectivity remains a challenging parameter to optimize and a layer by layer sputter deposition approach has been recently demonstrated to modify the resulting sensing properties through a change in the morphology of the deposited films. The material properties of the films have produced a unique sensing behavior in terms of a preferential response to H2 compared to CO. Although this is a very good benefit, it is expected that further enhancements would be realized through control of the shape and geometry of the catalytically active Au nanoparticles. While this is not possible through the layer by layer sputter deposition approach, this level of control has been realized through the use of electron beam lithography to fabricate nanocomposite arrays. Sensing results towards the detection of H2 will be highlighted with specific concerns related to optimization of these nanorod arrays detailed. The proposed work will discuss the various parameters for optimization of these arrays, which would enable them to be used as reliable, sensitive and selective harsh environmental sensors