From astronauts and submariners to miners and rescue workers, people who operate in small enclosed spaces need good air quality to work safely and effectively.

Electronic sensors now developed by a KAUST team can simultaneously detect at least three critical parameters that are important to monitor to ensure human comfort and safety.

These new sensors use fluorinated metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) as the sensing layer.

MOFs are porous materials comprising a regular array of metal atoms held together by small organic-molecule linkers to form a repeating cage-like structure.

KAUST's Mohamed Eddaoudi, who led the two studies of the sensor's efficacy, explains that by altering the metal and organic components, MOFs can be tuned for applications ranging from gas separation and storage to catalysis and sensing.

"Many people have attempted to develop simple, efficient, low-cost SO2, CO2 and H2O sensors without success," say researchers Mohamed Rachid Tchalala, Youssef Belmabkhout and Prashant Bhatt, all from Eddoudi's lab.

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