The resistance of chemically synthesized polypyrrole (PPy) thin films is investigated as a function of the pressure of various gases as well as of the film thickness. A physical, piezoresistive response is found to coexist with a chemical response if the gas is chemically active, like, e.g., oxygen. The piezoresistance is studied separately by exposing the films to the chemically inert gases such as nitrogen and argon. We observe that the character of the piezoresistive response is a function not only of the film thickness, but also of the pressure. Films of a thickness ≲ 70 nm show a decreasing resistance as pressure is applied, while for thicker films, the piezoresistance is positive. Moreover, in some films of thickness ≈ 70 nm, the piezoresistive response changes from negative to positive as the gas pressure is increased above ≈ 500 mbar. This behavior is interpreted in terms of a total piezoresistance which is composed of a surface and a bulk component, each of which contributes in a characteristic way. These results suggest that in polypyrrole, chemical sensing and piezoresistivity can coexist, which needs to be kept in mind when interpreting resistive responses of such sensors.
Sensors and Actuators A: Physical – Elsevier
Published: Aug 31, 2009
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