March 7, 2023

Surface Acoustic Wave Sensors for Refrigerant Leak Detection - CRADA 402 (Final Report)


Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), in collaboration with Parker and Hannifin, is developing a compact, inexpensive, and highly sensitive and selective surface acoustic wave sensor coated with fluorophillic sorbent for detecting fluorocarbon leaks from HVAC systems. Having a highly effective sorbent sensitive to fluorocarbon refrigerant vapors provides a means to develop a sensing device for leak detection. Surface acoustic wave (SAW) sensors with a gas sensing film deposited between the delay lines or on the interdigital transducer have been used to detect gas and vapor molecules in harsh environments with high sensitivity. As part of this project, PNNL screened several sorbent materials that are shown to be selective towards fluorocarbon refrigerant (R32) molecule. The identified sorbent materials were synthesized, characterized, and tested towards R32 using various spectroscopic technique. Next, the sorbent material was coated on a SAW sensor as a thin film using vapor deposition and drop coating methods. The coated thin film was further characterized and tested towards the detection of pure R32 and R32 in ambient air at room temperature to demonstrate the SAW response towards R32 in presence of other competing gases and vapors in air.

Published: March 7, 2023


Thallapally P.K., J. Liu, H. Li, J. Lu, J.W. Grate, B.P. McGrail, and Z. Deng, et al. 2021. Surface Acoustic Wave Sensors for Refrigerant Leak Detection - CRADA 402 (Final Report) Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

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