Data and Time December 12, 2008, 3:15-4:15 PM
Location Bahen Center for Information Technology (BA), Room 1190
Host Alex Wong

An Integrated Optic Hydrogen Sensor

Muhammed Alam

The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (Photonics)


Hydrogen is used as the main propellant for space shuttles, as an energy source in fuel cells, in oil refineries, and for many other applications. Hydrogen is extremely volatile, easily flammable, and highly explosive. Storage and handling of hydrogen is a challenging task and a good hydrogen sensor is highly desirable. An ideal hydrogen sensor should be fast, reversible, highly selective, compact in size, easy to fabricate, and cheap in price. Unfortunately such a sensor to date is not available. We have proposed a multi-channel integrated optical sensor for detection of hydrogen. The sensor consists of a high index waveguide on a low index substrate and uses Pd or Pd alloy thin film as the sensing medium. Since a single channel hydrogen sensor will be affected by the presence of other gases and the variations of temperature, humidity, and input power; a multi-channel sensing scheme and differential measurements are proposed to correct for some of these effects. All the components of the multi-channel sensor can be realized using planar technology and the complete sensor can be fabricated on a single chip. The sensor is compact and the response time is expected to be very short. The concept of multi-channel sensing presented in this work is very general and can be extended to other gas sensors as well.


Muhammad Alam obtained his B. Sc. Engg. degree from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology in 2000 and his M. A. Sc. degree from University of Victoria in 2004. He is currently a Ph. D. candidate in Photonics Group. His research interests include optical sensors and plasmonics.