Vapor recognition with small arrays of polymer-coated microsensors. A comprehensive analysis

Jeongim Park, William A. Groves, Edward T. Zellers

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A comprehensive analysis of vapor recognition as a function of the number of sensors in a vapor-sensor array is presented. Responses to 16 organic vapors collected from six polymer-coated surface acoustic wave (SAW) sensors were used in Monte Carlo simulations coupled with pattern recognition analyses to derive statistical estimates of vapor recognition rates as a function of the number of sensors in the array (≤6), the polymer sensor coatings employed, and the number and concentration of vapors being analyzed. Results indicate that as few as two sensors can recognize individual vapors from a set of 16 possibilities with <6% average recognition error, as long as the vapor concentrations are > 5 x LOD for the array. At lower concentrations, a minimum of three sensors is required, but arrays of 3-6 sensors provide comparable results. Analyses also revealed that individual- vapor recognition hinges more on the similarity of the vapor response patterns than on the total number of possible vapors considered. Vapor mixtures were also analyzed for specific 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-, and 6-vapor subsets where all possible combinations of vapors within each subset were considered simultaneously. Excellent recognition rates were obtainable for mixtures of up to four vapors using the same number of sensors as vapors in the subset. Lower recognition rates were generally observed for mixtures that included structurally homologous vapors. Acceptable recognition rates could not be obtained for the 5- and 6-vapor subsets examined, due, apparently, to the large number of vapor combinations considered (i.e., 31 and 63, respectively). Importantly, increasing the number of sensors in the array did not improve performance significantly for any of the mixture analyses, suggesting that for SAW sensors and other sensors whose responses rely on equilibrium vapor-polymer partitioning, large arrays are not necessary for accurate vapor recognition and quantification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3877-3886
Number of pages10
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 1 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry


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