The component is used to meter the amount of air in the fuel mixture, or the content of ammonia in diesel exhaust. The former is important to be able to reduce emissions from gasoline cars during cold starts, the latter to regulate the exhaust purification system that is under development for diesel cars. The sensor has proven to perform these tasks extremely wellĀ­-so well that the Linkƶping company AppliedSensor now wants to take it to market.

All cars already have a component that regulates the amount of air in the fuel mixture so the catalytic converter can function optimally. However, it canā€™t be used for the first few minutes after the engine has started, since a hot sensor might crack if it is hit by the tiny droplets of water that occur in the exhaust from a cold engine. During that time, the exhaust purification system doesnā€™t function satisfactorily.

The new component is made of more robust material, silicon carbide, and works from the instant the engine starts.

The ammonia sensor is for use in regulating the exhaust purification system in diesel cars, where itā€™s a matter of reducing the amount of nitrogen oxide. In the new system, ammonia is added to react with the nitrogen oxide, so only water and nitrogen gas are emitted. The job of the sensor is to regulate the ammonia content.

Laws targeting the emission of environmentally harmful substances from cars are becoming more and more stringent. In 2008 the amount permitted will be zero, which places demands on new technologies for cleaning exhaust.

The dissertation is titled Studies of MISiC-FET sensors for car exhaust gas monitoring and was publicly defended on April 22.

Helena Wingbrant can be reached at cell phone: +46 730-260585 or phone +46 13-281372, e-mail helwi@ifm.liu.se.