Principle and application of ball surface acoustic wave (SAW) sensor

Kazushi Yamanaka, Noritaka Nakaso, Dongyoun Sim, Takeshi Fukiura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Detection of hydrogen gas is a crucial task for establishing safety and reliability of fuel cells, a key technology for the environment and our society. However, hydrogen is difficult to detect and various hydrogen sensors have many drawbacks. Here we report a novel hydrogen gas sensor, the ball surface acoustic wave (SAW) sensor, using Pd or PdNi sensitive film. The ball SAW sensor is based on a novel phenomenon, diffraction-free propagation of collimated beam along an equator of sphere. The resultant ultra-multiple roundtrips of SAW makes it possible to achieve highest sensitivity among SAW sensors. Moreover, it enables to use a very thin sensitive film, and consequently the shortest response time (2 s) was realized. In terms of the sensing range, it has the widest range of 10 ppm to 100% among any hydrogen sensors including FET or resistivity sensors. The response time was less than 1 s for 3.0% hydrogen concentration in nitrogen gas, evaluated by using a newly developed digital quadrature detector.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-6
Number of pages5
JournalAcoustical Science and Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Bearing ball
  • Gas sensor
  • Hydrogen
  • Multiple roundtrip
  • Naturally collimated beam
  • Surface acoustic wave

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


Dive into the research topics of 'Principle and application of ball surface acoustic wave (SAW) sensor'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this