Chemoresistive CO2 Gas Sensors Based On La2O2CO3: Sensing Mechanism Insights Provided by Operando Characterization

ACS Sens. 2020 Aug 28;5(8):2555-2562. doi: 10.1021/acssensors.0c00882. Epub 2020 Aug 19.


Our previous studies demonstrated that rare-earth oxycarbonates Ln2O2CO3 (Ln = La, Nd, and Sm) and rare-earth oxides Ln2O3 (Ln = Nd, Sm, Gd, Dy, Er, and Yb) are sensitive to CO2 and that hexagonal La2O2CO3 is the best among them in terms of sensitivity, stability, and selectivity. In this study, we have conducted a comprehensive operando characterization on a hexagonal La2O2CO3 based sensor for the basic understanding of the sensing mechanism. This was done by performing under actual operating conditions simultaneous DC resistance and work function changes measurements, AC impedance spectroscopy measurements, and simultaneous DC resistance and DRIFT spectroscopy measurements. The results demonstrate that the double Schottky barriers at grain-grain boundaries are dominant contribution to sensor resistance; there is a competitive adsorption between carbonate species and hydroxyl groups, which depends on both CO2 concentration and humidity and leads to the change in height of the Schottky barriers. Finally, we propose a reaction model stating that there are three types of adsorbates, -CO32-, -OH-, and -O2-, and the relative concentration of which is controlled by a reaction with ambient humidity and CO2. This model is able to consistently explain all our experimental findings.

Keywords: CO2; chemoresistive gas sensor; lanthanum; operando characterization; oxycarbonate.

MeSH terms

  • Carbon Dioxide*
  • Metals, Rare Earth*
  • Oxides


  • Metals, Rare Earth
  • Oxides
  • Carbon Dioxide