Realization of palladium-based optomechanical cantilever hydrogen sensor

Steven J. McKeown, Xiaozhen Wang, Xin Yu, Lynford L. Goddard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hydrogen has attracted attention as an alternative fuel source and as an energy storage medium. However, the flammability of hydrogen at low concentrations makes it a safety concern. Thus, gas concentration measurements are a vital safety issue. Here we present the experimental realization of a palladium thin film cantilever optomechanical hydrogen gas sensor. We measured the instantaneous shape of the cantilever to nanometer-level accuracy using diffraction phase microscopy. Thus, we were able to quantify changes in the curvature of the cantilever as a function of hydrogen concentration and observed that the sensor’s minimum detection limit was well below the 250 p.p.m. limit of our test equipment. Using the change in curvature versus the hydrogen curve for calibration, we accurately determined the hydrogen concentrations for a random sequence of exposures. In addition, we calculated the change in film stress as a function of hydrogen concentration and observed a greater sensitivity at lower concentrations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16087
JournalMicrosystems and Nanoengineering
StatePublished - 2017


  • Hydrogen detection
  • Imaging and sensing
  • Interference microscopy
  • Optical sensors
  • Optomechanics
  • Surface dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Realization of palladium-based optomechanical cantilever hydrogen sensor'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this