Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Graphene sniffs out dangerous molecules

30.07.2007
Researchers at the University of Manchester have used the world’s thinnest material to create sensors that can detect just a single molecule of a toxic gas.

The development of graphene-based devices – which could eventually be used to detect hidden explosives at airports and deadly carbon monoxide in homes – is reported by Dr Kostya Novoselov and Professor Andre Geim in the latest issue of Nature Materials.

Three years ago, Manchester scientists discovered graphene – a one-atom-thick gauze of carbon atoms resembling chicken wire. This incredible new material has rapidly become one of the hottest topics in materials science and solid-state physics.

Now the same Manchester team has found that graphene is extremely sensitive to the presence of minute amounts of gases such as alcohol vapour or extremely toxic carbon monoxide.

They say this sensitivity was unexpected and seems to contradict to the common belief that graphene is extremely chemically inert.

The researchers have shown that gas molecules gently attach themselves to graphene without disrupting its chicken wire structure. They only add or take away electrons from graphene, which results in notable changes in its electrical conductance.

Writing in Nature Materials, researchers from the Manchester Centre for Mesoscience and Nanotechnology, say they have demonstrated that graphene-based sensors allow individual events to be registered when gas molecules attach to the surface.

Dr Novoselov, from The School of Physics and Astronomy, says this is clearly observed in changes of the electrical resistance of graphene, which occur as molecules are attaching one by one to its surface.

“This level of sensitivity is typically millions of times higher than for any other gas detector demonstrated before,” says Novoselov. “Graphene sensors are as sensitive as sensors can be in principle.”

Novoselov and Geim believe graphene-based gas detectors could be readily commercially produced using epitaxial graphene wafers, grown in many laboratories around the world and already good enough for this application.

But they stress that further research is needed to make such detectors sensitive to individual gases.

“At present you could not sniff out a flammable substance hidden in luggage because an increase in air humidity would give false readings,” says Geim. “But this is exactly the same problem that all solid-state gas detectors have encountered, and it can be successfully solved through various detection schemes including filters and analysis of a temperature response. We see no reason why the same cannot be done successfully with graphene.

“This is only the first step on the route to commercial graphene-based sensors but the road ahead is clear,” adds Geim. “Once again, graphene has proved itself to be a material with truly remarkable qualities, allowing observations that no other known material could.”

Researchers from the Institute for Microelectronics Technology in Russia and the Institute for Molecules and Materials at the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands, also collaborated on the paper.

Jon Keighren | alfa
Further information:
http://www.manchester.ac.uk

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht New NASA study improves search for habitable worlds
20.10.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods
19.10.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

Metallic nanoparticles will help to determine the percentage of volatile compounds

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Shallow soils promote savannas in South America

20.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>