Tuesday, February 06, 2007

US Patent 7171841 - Nanocluster Hydrogen Sensor


Hydrogen fuel cells require the use of hydrogen sensors for concentration and leak detection. This patent uses metal atom nanoclusters to form hydrogen sensors of higher reaction speed with greater energy efficiency. Claim 1 reads:

1. A device, comprising a non-conducting substrate having thereon, a metal film comprised of nanoclusters of metal atoms capable of absorbing hydrogen to form a stable metal hydride, said metal film being on the threshold of percolation, and mechanism in electrical communication with said metal film for sensing a change in electrical resistance in response to the presence of hydrogen in contact with said metal film, whereby hydrogen absorbed by said metal film forms a metal hydride larger in volume than the metal resulting in percolation of said metal film and an increase in the conductivity thereof; and wherein said non-conducting substrate has a stiction-reducing coating thereon.