Studies of MISiC-FET sensors for car exhaust gas monitoring

Detta är en avhandling från Institutionen för fysik, kemi och biologi

Sammanfattning: The increasing size of the car fleet makes it important to find ways of lowering the amounts of pollutants from each individual diesel or gasoline engine to almost zero levels. The pollutants from these engines predominantly originate from emissions at cold start, in the case when gasoline is utilized, and high NOx emissions and particulates from diesel engines.The cold start emissions from gasoline vehicles are primarily due to a high light-off time for the catalytic converter. Another reason is the inability to quickly heat the sensor used for controlling the air-to-fuel ratio in the exhausts, also called the lambda value, which is required to be in a particular range for the catalytic converter to work properly. This problem may be solved utilizing another, more robust sensor for this purpose.One way of treating the high NOx levels from diesel engines is to introduce ammonia in the exhausts and let it react with the NOx in a special catalytic converter to form nitrogen gas and water, which is called SCR (selective catalytic reduction). However, in order to make this system reduce NOx efficiently enough for meeting future legislations, closed loop control is required. To realize this type of system an NOx or ammonia sensor is needed.This thesis presents the efforts made to test the SiC-based field effect sensor device both as a cold start lambda sensor for gasoline engines and as an NH3 sensor for SCR systems in diesel engines.The MISiC (metal insulator silicon carbide) lambda sensor has proven to be both sensitive and selective to lambda, and its properties have been studied in lambda stairs both in gasoline engine exhausts and in the laboratory. There is, however, a small cross-sensitivity to CO. The influence of metal gate restructuring on the linearity of the sensor has also been investigated. The metal tends to form islands by time, which decreases the catalytic activity and thereby gives the sensor, which is binary when fresh, a linear behavior. Successful attempts to prevent the restructuring through depositing a protective layer of insulator on top of the metal were made. The influence of increasing the catalytic activity in the measurement cell was also studied. It was concluded that the location of the binary switch point of MISiC lambda sensors could be moved towards the stoichiometric value if the consumption of gases in the measurement cell was increased.The MISiC NH3 sensor for SCR systems has been shown to be highly sensitive to ammonia both in laboratory and diesel engine measurements. The influence of other diesel exhaust gas components, such as NOx, water or N2O has been found to be low. In order to make the ammonia sensor more long-term stable experiments on samples with different types of co-sputtered Pt or Ir/SiO2 gas-sensitive layers were performed. These samples turned out to be sensitive to NH3 even though they were dense and NH3 detection normally requires porous films.The speed of response for both sensor types has been found to be fast enough for closed loop control in each application.

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