Core-shell [email protected] nanoparticles including [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected] were synthesized and utilized for sensing low-concentration benzene. Various techniques were used to characterize the compositional properties of the typical [email protected] structure and analyze the relation between the sensing properties and the metal-ZnO hetero-interfaces. When applied as gas-sensing materials, all three core-shell [email protected] nanoparticles showed better sensing performance than pure ZnO nanoparticles towards low concentration benzene. In particular, the gas-sensing response of the [email protected] core-shell nanoparticles was 7 times higher than that of pure ZnO towards 0.1 ppm benzene and 63 times higher towards 5 ppm benzene, which was more sensitive than most gas-sensing materials in previous literature. Furthermore, the [email protected] core-shell nanoparticles presented an ultra-low detection limit of no less than 10 ppb, which was lower than those of most gas-sensing materials in previous literature. Besides, the [email protected] core-shell nanoparticles showed high selectivity and long-term response stability with a response value of 2.7 +/- 1.6% towards 1 ppm benzene after operating for a month. The enhanced gas-sensing performances of the [email protected] core-shell nanoparticles are well correlated to the work function differences between the contacted metal and ZnO within the metal-ZnO hetero-interfaces, which produce high Schottky energy barriers and modulate the electron transfer.