MSc thesis project proposal

Metal oxide semiconductor produced by spark ablation for gas sensing

Gas sensors are the core component of nowadays intelligent detection systems. The application is rapidly expanding to various fields such as air quality monitor systems, environmental science and the automotive industry.

Metal oxide semiconductor (MOS) is widely employed as sensing material, including copper oxide (CuO), tin oxide (SnO2), titanium dioxide (TiO2), zinc oxide (ZnO), etc. It has been demonstrated for the detection of various gases, such as NO2, NH3, CO, H2O and some volatile organic compounds (VOC). To boost the gas sensing performance, there is plenty of rooms for optimizing composition and microstructure. For example, the porous microstructure can improve the sensitivity, selectivity, response and recovery time by large reaction surface and more active sites.

As an advantage, ECTM owns a spark ablation tool to locally print nanoparticles, which also grants users the flexibility in selecting material composition (Cu, Ag, Pd, Zn, Sn, etc.) and nanoparticle size. Besides, the ECTM group is setting up a gas chamber that allows calibration of sensing capability for a wide range of gases.

This project aims to develop a broad investigation into the sensing capability of MOS nanoparticles. Building onto the group’s knowledge, the project will help develop a deeper understanding of the roles of influence factors, such as material composition and microstructure, in sensing performance.


This hands-on project will include:
  • An extensive review of the related state-of-the-art
  • Design and optimization of the test chip
  • Deposition of various MOS nanoparticle film
  • Characterization of microstructure and composition
  • Comprehensive reporting of the full experimental work


You are an ambitious master student looking for hands-on experience and a multidisciplinary thesis project on microfabrication and nanomaterials. You have a microelectronics, chemistry, nanotechnology or material science background and like experimental lab work. Good communication skill in English and a pro-active attitude are expected.

Contact Sten Vollebregt

Electronic Components, Technology and Materials Group

Department of Microelectronics

Last modified: 2021-03-30