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 Climate cycles may explain how running water carved Mars' surface features
02.12.2016 | Penn State

nachricht What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?
02.12.2016 | University of Toronto

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: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>