A miniaturized Schottky diode hydrogen and hydrocarbon sensor and the method of making same is disclosed and claimed. The sensor comprises a catalytic metal layer, such as palladium, a silicon carbide substrate layer and a thin barrier layer in between the catalytic and substrate layers made of palladium oxide (PdO.sub.x ). This highly stable device provides sensitive gas detection at temperatures ranging from at least 450 to 600.degree. C. The barrier layer prevents reactions between the catalytic metal layer and the substrate layer. Conventional semiconductor fabrication techniques are used to fabricate the small-sized sensors. The use of a thicker palladium oxide barrier layer for other semiconductor structures such as a capacitor and transistor structures is also disclosed.