Simulation of oxygen exchange of SnO2 surface

Ulla Pulkkinen, Tapio T. Rantala, Tuomo S. Rantala, Vilho Lantto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Oxygen chemistry at the SnO2 surface is sensitive to the surrounding gas atmosphere, a reason why it is used in gas sensor applications. The operation principle of these sensors is usually based on the reactions of gas molecules with O2 - and O- ions adsorbed onto the surface. These surface reactions are observed as a measurable change in the electrical conductance of the sensor material. Here, we have studied the temperature dependency of the equilibrium coverages of O2 -, O- and surface/lattice oxygen content with lattice gas simulations. Earlier, we have studied oxygen reactions at the SnO2 surface using rate equation simulations. These models have been used as a basis of our simulations for adsorption, dissociation and desorption steps. Now, the physisorption step has been refined and the oxygen exchange between the adsorbed form and lattice has been added. Simulations have been carried out using an equilibrium lattice gas model. The conductance of the SnO2 material as a function of temperature is modeled in terms of the different oxygen components. We find that at low temperatures O2 - dominates at the SnO2 surface, while in the higher temperature region oxygen is in the form of O-. The transition temperature from O2 - dominating coverage to O- coverage is about 450 K. The importance of this finding lies in the fact that O- is the most reactive component in reducing the adsorbed gases, and therefore, it explains the temperature dependence of the sensitivity of SnO2 based sensors. The exchange process is slow at lower temperatures and accounts for the hysteresis like behavior at low temperatures. The simulated conductance dependence is in good agreement with the experimental measurements of Lantto et al.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)720
Number of pages1
JournalComputer Physics Communications
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1999
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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