Engineering of rare-earth Eu3+ ions doping on p-type NiO for selective detection of toluene gas sensing and luminescence properties

Teboho P. Mokoena*, Hendrik C. Swart, Kenneth T. Hillie, David E. Motaung

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present the engineering of various concentrations of rare-earth europium (Eu3+) ions in the range of 1–4 wt% doped in p-type NiO for selective detection of toluene prepared utilizing the hydrothermal method. The undoped showed a nanoflake-like, while doped samples displayed the evolution of NiO that was induced by Eu3+ dopants. The X-ray diffraction and photoluminescence (PL) findings showed that the Eu3+ ions were successfully doped into NiO. The PL emission spectrum upon the excitation of 394 nm and displayed four emission peaks with the maxima at 468, 571, 611, and 665 nm. Among the doped samples, the 3 wt% Eu3+ doped NiO displayed improved response (Rg/Ra ≈25 %) towards 60 ppm toluene vapour in the presence of other interfering vapours, such as benzene, ethylene-benzene and xylene at the functional temperature of 100 °C with a bias voltage of 1 V. The 3 wt% Eu3+ doped NiO based sensor response was approximately 1.5 higher in comparison to other vapours, with sensitivity and low detection limit of 0.36 ppm−1 and 250 ppb, respectively. Under the bias voltage and exposure time of 2 V and 3 h, respectively, we noticed a massive response of Rg/Ra ≈ 59 %, which is twice higher compared to the initial response Thus, the probability of fine-tuning the gas sensitivity and selectivity of the Eu3+ doped NiO based sensor by designing the relative amount of Eu3+ in NiO (∼3 wt% Eu) is encouraging for further fabrication of Eu3+doped NiO as a potential sensor for toluene detection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number130530
JournalSensors and Actuators B: Chemical
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Eu rare earth
  • Luminescence
  • NiO
  • Toluene sensing


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