Graphene has already been proven as a valuable component in various types of sensors, but its usefulness has never been explored in depth in extreme environmental conditions, until now.
A team of researchers is aiming to prove graphene’s usefulness as a sensing material even in harsh environments, such as temperatures as high as 650 degrees Celsius, high salinity, intense radiation, high humidity, and more. Most current sensor technology is only effective in a narrow range of atmospheric conditions, losing sensitivity or failing altogether if the conditions swing too much outside of the normal range.
A new sensor developed in part by KAUST does its job by detecting changes in graphene’s electrical resistance in response to varying atmospheric or chemical conditions, ranging from extreme heat or high acidity. The system they’ve developed can also monitor variables like pressure and water flow. These differing sensors can all be placed on a single flexible sheet of polyimide polymer, and can even transmit its findings wirelessly using Bluetooth.
The practical applications for the sensor vary, but could include applications for monitoring ocean water, bodily fluids, and even space exploration. Since the sensor is placed on a flexible sheet, it could also be worn on the body, expanding its potential applications to divers, athletes, or in the medical field.