Smoke sensors are one of the most crucial components that form the front-line defense of your home’s safety system. But unfortunately, the predicament with current photoelectric smoke sensors with conventional zinc-oxide, relates to their limited ability of detecting only denser smokes (with large particles). This makes allowance for rapid burning smokes (with smaller particles), thus potentially making a fire-catching scenario more dangerous than it initially appears.
As a solution, a researcher team at the University of Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute, have devised a ‘manipulated’ zinc oxide at the nano level that is touted be a whopping 10,000 more effective than its traditional counterpart. This new nanomaterial has a modified structure with protruding bristle-like nanowires (as opposed to the flat film of regular zinc oxide). This modification in turn allows for greater surface area – which is directly proportional to the sensitivity of the layer.
This sensitivity is obviously conducive to detecting the smaller particles generally emanated by rapid burning smokes. And quite interestingly, even beyond its scope of usage in improved fire detectors, the zinc oxide nanomaterial can potentially play its ‘bespoke’ part in other avenues of electronics, including air pollution monitoring and even in responsive screens of mobile devices.
Source: University of Surrey