Ammonia Gas Sensing Technology

Accurate detection of gaseous ammonia is important in many industries. Ammonia is widely used in the production of explosives, fertilisers and as an industrial coolant. Acute ammonia poisoning can result from inhalation of only small doses of ammonia vapour.

Polyaniline is probably the most widely studied conducting polymer and it has potential in numerous applications including sensors, rechargeable batteries, light-emitting diodes, corrosion protection of metals and gas separation membranes. Yet, like many other electrically conducting polymers, polyaniline has proved difficult to exploit for a number of reasons. The technology described here allows for the rapid, low cost, mass production of sensors based on polyaniline, of which one significant application is ammonia sensing

Market Opportunity

This technology has multiple applications in the gas sensor market where the detection of ammonia has a wide variety of uses. Factors such as increasing environmental monitoring legislation, greater reliability and lower costs are driving growth in these markets. According to Frost & Sullivan (F&S) the European market was projected to have a value of ?92.3m in 2007, while the American market was projected to have a value of ?157.7m. Market growth is about 4% per year. Novel technologies will permit innovation targeting key niches in these markets.

Technology Description

This invention combines nanoparticulate polyaniline with an ink-jet printing technique to produce a modified electrode sensor system which has improved fabrication, structural and performance characteristics over other gas sensor systems. These electrodes are a low-cost, flexible platform with a high selectivity for ammonia with good selectivity.

Competitive Advantage

This technology has a number of key advantages over existing technologies:
Offers a combined technical and manufacturing solution.
Can be adapted to a range of sensor technologies such as thick film electrodes, thin film electrodes and solid-state devices.
Ink-jet printing facilitates high through-put, low cost manufacturing
Nanoparticulate dispersion is aqueous-based, removing the need for organic solvents in printing process
Improved physical characteristics of polymer film in terms of uniformity, and three-dimensional structure
Better performance characteristics including improved signal-to-noise ratio and increased sensitivity

IP Status

A PCT application has been filed to protect this technology.

Type of Business Sought

This technology is available for immediate use through licensing. DCU is interested in entering into licensing agreements and partnerships to develop this platform technology.

Principal Investigators

Prof Malcolm Smyth and Dr. Tony Killard, School of Chemical Sciences, National Centre for Sensor Research, Dublin City University, Dublin 9, Ireland


Mr Richard Stokes
CEO, Invent
Dublin City University, Ireland
Tel: 353-1-7006188

Dr. Noel Daly
Enterprise Ireland, Biotechnology Commercialisation (EI Bio), Invent, Dublin City University, Ireland
Tel: 353-1-7008919

DCU and the University of Wollongong own the Intellectual Property.

EI Bio works in partnership with Invent DCU to commercialise the technology.