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Tiny detector finds hydrogen better

12:41pm, October 9, 2001

Researchers have made a miniature device that can quickly detect hydrogen leaks.

Such a device might be useful in future cars powered by fuel cells since hydrogen

concentrations above a few percent can be explosive. The same device also could be

useful for regulating hydrogen concentrations in the cars' engines.

Most hydrogen sensors rely on thin palladium wires, which decrease their

conductivity within seconds or minutes after adsorbing molecules of the gas.

Reginald M. Penner of the University of California at Irvine and his colleagues

suspected that sensors made with much smaller wires would operate in the same way

but more quickly.

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