Modeling, design and experimental characterization of Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems for gas chromatographic applications

Cozzani, Enrico (2011) Modeling, design and experimental characterization of Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems for gas chromatographic applications, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Ingegneria elettronica, informatica e delle telecomunicazioni, 23 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/3669.
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Design parameters, process flows, electro-thermal-fluidic simulations and experimental characterizations of Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems (MEMS) suited for gas-chromatographic (GC) applications are presented and thoroughly described in this thesis, whose topic belongs to the research activities the Institute for Microelectronics and Microsystems (IMM)-Bologna is involved since several years, i.e. the development of micro-systems for chemical analysis, based on silicon micro-machining techniques and able to perform analysis of complex gaseous mixtures, especially in the field of environmental monitoring. In this regard, attention has been focused on the development of micro-fabricated devices to be employed in a portable mini-GC system for the analysis of aromatic Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) like Benzene, Toluene, Ethyl-benzene and Xylene (BTEX), i.e. chemical compounds which can significantly affect environment and human health because of their demonstrated carcinogenicity (benzene) or toxicity (toluene, xylene) even at parts per billion (ppb) concentrations. The most significant results achieved through the laboratory functional characterization of the mini-GC system have been reported, together with in-field analysis results carried out in a station of the Bologna air monitoring network and compared with those provided by a commercial GC system. The development of more advanced prototypes of micro-fabricated devices specifically suited for FAST-GC have been also presented (silicon capillary columns, Ultra-Low-Power (ULP) Metal OXide (MOX) sensor, Thermal Conductivity Detector (TCD)), together with the technological processes for their fabrication. The experimentally demonstrated very high sensitivity of ULP-MOX sensors to VOCs, coupled with the extremely low power consumption, makes the developed ULP-MOX sensor the most performing metal oxide sensor reported up to now in literature, while preliminary test results proved that the developed silicon capillary columns are capable of performances comparable to those of the best fused silica capillary columns. Finally, the development and the validation of a coupled electro-thermal Finite Element Model suited for both steady-state and transient analysis of the micro-devices has been described, and subsequently implemented with a fluidic part to investigate devices behaviour in presence of a gas flowing with certain volumetric flow rates.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Cozzani, Enrico
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze e ingegneria dell'informazione
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
gas-chromatography BTEX separation column MOX sensor TCD FEM modeling
Data di discussione
6 Maggio 2011

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