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Advanced nanostructural zirconia ceramics for optical oxygen sensors

Janusz D. Fidelus 1Witold Łojkowski 1Donats Millers 2Krisjanis Smits 2Larisa Grigorjeva 2

1. Polish Academy of Sciences, Institute of High Pressure Physics (UNIPRESS), Sokolowska 29/37, Warszawa 01-142, Poland
2. Institute of Solid State Physics, University of Latvia, 8 Kengaraga, Riga LV-1063, Latvia


Our studies on ZrO2 nanocrystals has shown that the intensity of luminescence is dependent on the oxygen partial pressure and that repeatability of the luminescence signal was within 6% [[1],[2]]. This result would be promising for the development of a solid state luminescent oxygen sensors which could be used for environmental monitoring, technological process control, monitoring of oxygen content. The possible advantages of the proposed optical oxygen sensors versus electrical and electrochemical sensors are presented.

The exchange of oxygen between nanocrystals and surrounding gasses strongly depends on the nanocrystals’ properties. Therefore the methods of synthesis of selected advanced nanostructured zirconia powders have been studied and their density, specific surface area, morphology, phase composition and grain size distribution have been characterised. The luminescence of ZrO2 nanocrystals at room and higher temperature is defect related and for its excitation an UV LED (Light Emitting Diode) can be used. The luminescence intensity dependence on oxygen partial pressure is suggested as being due to a change of defect concentration in the nanocrystal oxygen sub-lattice. The contribution from two kinds of luminescence excitation – direct excitation of the luminescence centre and its excitation via energy/charge transfer - will be shown. The comparison of luminescence from undoped and doped ZrO2 nanocrystals under different excitation energy (within band gap and band-to-band) was used to determine the efficiency of each luminescence excitation. The model of the luminescence centre is proposed. We made an attempt to explain on the experimental basis why the luminescence intensity dependence on the partial pressure of oxygen.

The work supported in part by project NaMiC.


[1] Fidelus J. D., Lojkowski W., Millers D., K. Smits, Grigorjeva L., Piticescu R.R.: “Zirconia-based nanomaterials for oxygen sensor - generation, characterisation and optical properties” , Solid State Phenomena Vol. 128 (2007) pp. 141-150, online at .

[2] Fidelus J. D., Millers D., Lojkowski W., Grigorjeva L., Smits K. : ”Zirconia based nanomaterials for luminescent oxygen sensors”, Proceedings of COE Conference, Zakopane 2006, przyjęty do druku w SPIE (The International Society of Optical Engineering).


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Related papers

Presentation: Poster at E-MRS Fall Meeting 2007, Acta Materialia Gold Medal Workshop, by Janusz D. Fidelus
See On-line Journal of E-MRS Fall Meeting 2007

Submitted: 2007-05-11 15:43
Revised:   2007-09-12 15:59