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Adsorption-desorption noise can be used for improving selectivity. Sensors and Actuators A, v.107, 2003, 233--237
Abstract. Small chemical sensors are subjected to adsorption-desorption fluctuations which usually considered as noise contaminating useful signal. Based on temporal properties of this noise, it is shown that it can be made useful if proper processed. Namely, the signal, which characterizes the total amount of adsorbed analyte, should be subjected to a kind of amplitude discrimination (or level crossing discrimination) with certain threshold. When the amount is equal or above the threshold, the result of discrimination is standard dc signal, otherwise it is zero. Analytes are applied at low concentration: the mean adsorbed amount is below the threshold. The threshold is achieved from time to time thanking to the fluctuations. The signal after discrimination is averaged over a time window and used as the output of the whole device. Selectivity of this device is compared with that of its primary adsorbing sites, based on explicit description of the threshold-crossing statistics. It is concluded that the whole sensor may have much better selectivity than do its individual adsorbing sites.
Keywords: sensor, fluctuations, noise, adsorption, selectivity, electronic