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Germany: Innovative Sensors This New Class of Sensors Detects Molecules Specifically and Accurately

Editor: Alexander Stark

Researchers at the German Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Technical University of Darmstadt have developed a novel sensor for gas molecules.

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A combination of graphene transistor with metal-organic coating enables sensitive and selective detection.
A combination of graphene transistor with metal-organic coating enables sensitive and selective detection.
(Source: KIT)

Karlsruhe/Germany — An innovative new sensor can detect molecules specifically and accurately, paving the way for a whole new class of sensors. As a prototypical example, the group of scientiest at the KIT and the Technical University of Darmstadt demonstrated an ethanol sensor that does not react to other alcohols or moisture.

The functional principle of this new class of sensors is based on the combination of sensitive graphene transistors with tailored metal-organic coatings. This combination enables selective detection of molecules. As a prototypical example, the authors demonstrate a specific ethanol sensor that, unlike currently available commercial sensors, does not react to other alcohols or to moisture.

Graphene is a modification of carbon with a two-dimensional structure. Graphene is inherently highly sensitive to foreign molecules that accumulate on its surface. “However, graphene as such does not exhibit a molecule-specific interaction as required for an application as a sensor,” explains Ralph Krupke, professor at KIT's Institute of Nanotechnology (INT) and TU Darmstadt's Institute of Materials Science, who was in charge of the study together with Professor Wolfgang Wenzel of KIT's INT and Professor Christof Wöll, head of KIT's Institute of Functional Interfaces (IFG). The first author is Sandeep Kumar, who conducts research in the laboratory of Ralph Krupke at KIT and is pursuing a PhD in molecular nanostructures at the Institute of Materials Science at TU Darmstadt. “To achieve the required selectivity, we grew a metal-organic framework on the surface”, Krupke explains.

Original publication: Sandeep Kumar, Yohanes Pramudya, Kai Müller, Abhinav Chandresh, Simone Dehm, Shahriar Heidrich, Artem Fediai, Devang Parmar, Delwin Perera, Manuel Rommel, Lars Heinke, Wolfgang Wenzel, Christof Wöll, Ralph Krupke: Sensing molecules with metal-organic framework functionalized graphene transistors. Advanced Materials, 2021. DOI: 10.1002/adma.202103316

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