In the nearly future, an extremly sensitive wearable sensor able to monitor our health through the detection of different gas molecules could be sell
Research on nanomaterials in the sensor field is having a great development because they have a great surface-volume ratio, which makes them highly sensitive. The problem, however, lies in the difficulty of design and implementation. Due to the sub-microscopic dimensions, it is very difficult to connect nanomaterials to wires to receive the signal. Science is therefore turning to the so-called interdigitated electrodes.
A new research, published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A, describes an innovative sensor based on graphene nanomaterials. The article is the result of a collaboration between Pennsylvania State University, Northeastern University in Boston, Huazhong University of Science and Technology and the South China University of Technology in Guangzhou.
The sensor consists of very thin linear units made by a porous nanomaterial, similar to graphene, capable of detecting gases, biomolecules and in the future other chemicals. The rest of the device has a silver-coated serpentine structure. The silver coating provides elasticity to the device: when the current flows in the coils, the filaments expand with heat and adapt to the shape and movement of the body.
The nanomaterial consists of reduced graphene oxide and molybdenum disulphide in different combinations. A good alternative is also a composite metal oxide, consisting of a zinc oxide core and a copper oxide coating (two of the most widely used materials in sensor technology).
The small size could allow the production of multisensors, with dozens of different detectors, each dedicated to a specific molecule, all in one product. The study has attracted the interest of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency of the United States for the potential of monitoring the health of patients.