Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

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Non Methane Hydrocarbon Sensor

Mixed potential hydrocarbon sensor for automotive and air monitoring applications.

LAUR: 16-22571


  • Detection of Total Hydrocarbon Content (THC)- This mixed potential sensor utilizes a Pt and Lanthanum Strontium Chromite (LSCO) electrode and yttria stabilized zirconia (YSZ) electrolyte to detect total hydrocarbon content (THC). YSZ’s unique combination of chemical and mechanical stability, configuration, and flexibility make it an intriguing contender for the future of gas sensing.
  • Simplicity and Quick Response Mode- The sensor’s sensitivity allows for the detection of THC from 5 ppm to 1000 ppm fast enough to record engine transient combustion events. This sensor’s simplicity and quick response make it ideal for automotive applications. As future automobile efficiency standards rise, onboard diagnostics (OBD) technology for hydrocarbon emissions, such as this sensor, will increasingly become important.

Cortney R. Kreller, Vitaly Y. Prikhodko, Josh A. Pihl, Scott Curran, James E. Parks II, Fernando H. Garzon, Rangachary Mukundan, and Eric L. Brosha, “Dynamometer Testing of Planar Mixed-Potential Sensors,” Submitted to the Journal of Emissions Controls, Winter 2016.

Cortney R. Kreller, Praveen K. Sekhar ,Wenxia Li, Ponnusamy Palanisamy, Eric L. Brosha, Rangachary Mukundan, and Fernando H. Garzon, “Application of Commercial Manufacturing Methods to Mixed-Potential NOx Sensors,” ECS Transactions 50 (12) (2012) 307-314.

P.K.Sekhar, E.L. Brosha, R. Mukundan, W.Li, M.A.Nelson, P. Palanisamy, and F.H. Garzon, “Application of Commercial Automotive Sensor Manufacturing Methods for NOx/NH3 Mixed Potential Sensors for On-Board Emissions Control”, Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical 144, 112 (2010).

P.K. Sekhar, H. Sarraf, H. Mekonen, R. Mukundan, E.L. Brosha, and F.H. Garzon, “Impedance spectroscopy based characterization of an electrochemical propylene sensor,” Sensors and Acuators B:Chemical 177 (2013) 111-115.


U.S. Patent # 6,656,336, “Method for Forming a Potential Hydrocarbon Sensor with Low Sensitivity to Methane and CO, issued Dec 2, 2003 (DOE S-97,844).

U.S. Patent # 6,605,202, “Electrodes for Solid State Gas Sensor”, issued Aug 12, 2003 (DOE S-99,902).

U.S. Patent # 7,214,333, “Electrodes for Solid State Gas Sensor”, issued May 8, 2007 (DOE S-100,634).

U.S. Patent # 7,264,700, “Thin Film Mixed Potential Sensors”; issued Sept. 4, 2007 (DOE S-100,655).

Development Stage

TRL 7. Dynamometer testing at the National Transportation Research Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, TN in lean gasoline and diesel engine exhaust environment.