Highly Permeable Fluorinated Polymer Nanocomposites for Plasmonic Hydrogen Sensing

    • Ida Östergren1, Amir Masoud Pourrahimi1, Iwan Darmadi2, Robson da Silva1, Alicja Stolaś1, Sarah Lerch1, Barbara Berke2, Manuel Guizar-Sicairos3, Marianne Liebi2, Giacomo Foli4, Vincenzo Palermo4,5, Matteo Minelli6, Kasper Moth-Poulsen1, Christoph Langhammer2, and Christian Müller1
    • 1Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg 412 96, Sweden
    • 2Department of Physics, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg 412 96, Sweden
    • 3Paul Scherrer Institut, Villigen PSI 5232, Switzerland
    • 4Institute of Organic Synthesis and Photoreactivity, National Research Council, Bologna 40129, Italy
    • 5Department of Industrial and Materials Science, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg 412 96, Sweden
    • 6Department of Civil, Chemical, Environmental and Materials Engineering, Alma Mater Studiorum—University of Bologna, Bologna 40131, Italy

    Hydrogen (H2) sensors that can be produced en masse with cost-effective manufacturing tools are critical for enabling safety in the emerging hydrogen economy. The use of melt-processed nanocomposites in this context would allow the combination of the advantages of plasmonic hydrogen detection with polymer technology; an approach which is held back by the slow diffusion of H2 through the polymer matrix. Here, we show that the use of an amorphous fluorinated polymer, compounded with colloidal Pd nanoparticles prepared by highly scalable continuous flow synthesis, results in nanocomposites that display a high H2 diffusion coefficient in the order of 10–5 cm2 s–1. As a result, plasmonic optical hydrogen detection with melt-pressed fluorinated polymer nanocomposites is no longer limited by the diffusion of the H2 analyte to the Pd nanoparticle transducer elements, despite a thickness of up to 100 μm, thereby enabling response times as short as 2.5 s at 100 mbar (≡10 vol. %) H2. Evidently, plasmonic sensors with a fast response time can be fabricated with thick, melt-processed nanocomposites, which paves the way for a new generation of robust H2 sensors.

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