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Scientists develop graphene sensors that could change the Internet of Things

11 Jan 2018

Researchers have devised graphene sensors embedded into RFIDs, which have the potential to revolutionise the Internet of Things (IoT)

Graphene sensors

By layering graphene-oxide (a derivative of graphene) over graphene to create a flexible heterostructure the team have developed humidity sensors for remote sensing with the ability to connect to any wireless network.

As reported in Scientific Reports, the groundbreaking nature of this development is that such sensors can be printed layer-by-layer for scalable and mass production at very low cost. The device also requires no battery source as it harvests power from the receiver.

Sensors with a RFID enabler are at the heart of the IoT. This new development can provide various applications such as battery-free smart wireless monitoring for manufacturing processes that are sensitive to moisture, food safety, healthcare and nuclear waste.

The developed technique has the potential to simplify how the information is gathered through its wireless system, nor is it is limited to a particular wireless network and has the ability to be compatible with networks including WiFi and 5G.

Dr Zhirun Hu who led the work said: "The excitement does not end with this new application here, but leads to the future possibilities of integrations of this technique with other 2D materials to open up a new horizon of wireless sensing applications."

Professor Sir Kostya Novoselov, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics and coordinated the project, added: "It is the first example of the printable technology where several 2D materials come together to create a functional device immediately suitable for industrial applications. The Internet of Things is the fast growing segment of technology, and I’m sure that 2D materials will play an important role there."

Advanced materials is one of the University’s research beacons - examples of pioneering discoveries, interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-sector partnerships that are tackling some of the biggest questions facing the planet.