In this work, the catalyst manganese(IV) oxide (MnO2), of calorimetric gas sensors (to monitor the sterilization agent vaporized hydrogen peroxide) has been investigated in more detail. Chemical analyses by means of X-ray-induced photoelectron spectroscopy have been performed to unravel the surface chemistry prior and after exposure to hydrogen peroxide vapor at elevated temperature, as applied in the sterilization processes of beverage cartons. The surface characterization reveals a change in oxidation states of the metal oxide catalyst after exposure to hydrogen peroxide. Additionally, a cleaning effect of the catalyst, which itself is attached to the sensor surface by means of a polymer interlayer, could be observed.
Schematic demonstrating the principle of the investigated calorimetric hydrogen peroxide gas sensor. Differential set-up of two temperature-sensitive elements; right side: passivated by an inert polymer; left side: additionally catalytically activated.