Reported by Dr Megawati Omar
Fellow of Research and Publication
Reserch Management Institute
UiTM Shah Alam, Malaysia
Mohamad Hafiz and his team, Zuraida Khusaimi and Musa Mohamed Zahidi, supervised by Assoc. Professor Dr. Mohamad Rusop, of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, won a grand prize in the Innovation and Design 2010 – Special Edition, 12 – 14 October 2010 at the Sri Budiman Hall, Universiti Teknologi MARA Shah Alam. The exposition and competition saw 523 participations by the university’s academics, students and staff. Their research is Ultra-Violet Photoconductive Sensor Fabricated Using Environmentally-Friendly and Novel Nanostructures: Nanoholes Enhanced Aligned Zinc Oxide Nanorod Arrays.
Improving the sensor’s configuration by nanotechnology, he explained that this UV sensor is to improve signal detection in fire detection in buildings, gas leakage in industries, photomultiplier tube (PMT) in optical measurement instrument, or sensing in space.
The team said their UV sensor is cheaper than the ones used in today’s market as the UV fabrication makes use of less than 1 micron layer of material, thus having less configuration elements. As such, fabrication can be done in lower temperature which in turn costs less. Besides, as it is nanostructured ZnO- based UV photoconductive, it is thus eco-friendly because the physical and chemical properties of ZnO are non-toxic. Other than that ZnO also possesses high radiation hardness and have wide band gap semiconductor material characteristics.
Mohamad Hafiz added that the UV sensor could replace the present sensors which are mostly deploying materials such as Silicon, Gallium Nitride-based, Boron Nitride, and Gallium Arsenide; which are also expensive. The traditional sensors also hold less radiation strength fabrication. He also said that with the UV, mass production is easier as a few hundred thousand of single nanorod sensor from 2cm x 2cm nanorod deposited sample can be produced due to its use of large number of nanorods in small substrate .
Mohamad Hafiz’s innovation will be making sensor system specialists none happier.