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Sensors

In the broadest definition, a sensor is an object whose purpose is to detect events


or changes in its environment and sends the information to the computer which then tells the
actuator (output devices) to provide the corresponding output. A sensor is a device that converts
real world data (Analog) into data that a computer can understand using ADC (Analog to Digital
converter).
Sensors are used in everyday objects such as touch-sensitive elevator buttons (tactile
sensor) and lamps which dim or brighten by touching the base, besides innumerable applications
of which most people are never aware.
Chemical sensors
A chemical sensor is a device that transforms chemical information (composition,
presence of a particular element or ion, concentration, chemical activity, partial pressure...) into
an analytically useful signal. The chemical information,mentioned above, may originate from a
chemical reaction of the analyte or from a physical property of the system investigated. They can
have applications in different areas such as medicine, home safety, environmental pollution and
many others.
Chemical sensors usually contain two basic components connected in series: a chemical
(molecular) recognition system (receptor) and a physicochemical transducer.In the majority of
chemical sensors, the receptor interacts with analyte molecules.As a result, its physical properties
are changed in such a way that the appending transducer can gain an electrical signal.
Receptor: The function of the receptor is fulfilled in many cases by a thin layer which is
able to interact with the analyte molecules, catalyze a reaction selectively,or participate in a
chemical equilibrium together with the analyte. The receptor layer can respond selectively to
particular substances or to a group of substances. The term molecular recognition is used to
describe this behavior. Among the interaction processes, the most important for chemical sensors
are adsorption, ion exchange and liquid-liquid extraction. Primarily these phenomena act at the
interface between analyte and receptor surface.
Transducer: Nowadays, signals are processed almost exclusively by means of electrical
instrumentation.Accordingly, every sensor should include a transducing function, i.e. the actual
concentration value,a non-electric quantity must be transformed into an electric quantity, voltage,
current or resistance.Some of them develop their sensor function only in combination with an
additional receptor layer. In other types, receptor operation is an inherent function of the
transducer.

Redox
Redox (short for reductionoxidation reaction) is a chemical reaction in which the
oxidation states of atoms are changed. Any such reaction involves both a reduction process and a
complementary oxidation process, two key concepts involved with electron transfer processes.[1]
Redox reactions include all chemical reactions in which atoms have their oxidation state
changed; in general, redox reactions involve the transfer of electrons between chemical species.
The chemical species from which the electron is stripped is said to have been oxidized, while the
chemical species to which the electron is added is said to have been reduced. It can be explained
in simple terms:
Oxidation is the loss of electrons or an increase in oxidation state by a
molecule/atom/ion.
Reduction is the gain of electrons or a decrease in oxidation state by a molecule/atom/ion.
A good example is the reaction between hydrogen and fluorine in which hydrogen is being
oxidized and fluorine is being reduced: H2 + F2 2HF
We can write this overall reaction as two half-reactions:
the oxidation reaction: H2 2H+ + 2e-
and the reduction reaction: F2 + 2e- 2F-
Example: It exists a wide range of gas sensor products which use the oxidation effect for
the detection of various gases, from explosive gases such as propane, toxic gases such as carbon
monoxide, to air quality sensors for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are responsible for
sick-house syndrome.
STEP1:In clean air, donor electrons in tin dioxide are attracted toward oxygen which is
adsorbed on the surface of the sensing material, preventing electric current flow.
STEP2: In the presence of reducing gases, the surface density of adsorbed oxygen
decreases as it reacts with the reducing gases. Electrons are then released into the tin dioxide,
allowing current to flow freely through the sensor.
References: http://www.figaro.co.jp/en/technicalinfo/principle/mos-type.html
http://nano-bio.ehu.es/files/chemical_sensors1.doc_definitivo.pdf
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redox
https://www.nap.edu/read/4782/chapter/chemicalsensors