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Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices to report on what they perceive.
Electronically active 2D materials have been the subject of much research since the introduction of graphene in 2004. Even though they are often touted for their strength, they're difficult to move to where they're needed without destroying them.
Ajayan - Lou - Groups - Lab - Rice
The Ajayan and Lou groups, along with the lab of Rice engineer Jacob Robinson, have a new way to keep the materials and their associated circuitry, including electrodes, intact as they're moved to curved or other smooth surfaces.
The results of their work appear in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Nano.
Rice - Team - Concept - Indium - Selenide
The Rice team tested the concept by making a 10-nanometer-thick indium selenide photodetector with gold electrodes and placing it onto an optical fiber. Because it was so close, the near-field sensor effectively coupled with an evanescent field -- the oscillating electromagnetic wave that rides the surface of the fiber -- and accurately detected the flow of information inside.
The benefit is that these sensors can now be imbedded into such fibers where they can monitor performance without adding weight or hindering the signal flow.
Paper - Possibilities - Devices - Applications - Lou
"This paper proposes several interesting possibilities for applying 2D devices in real applications," Lou said. "For example, optical fibers at the bottom of the ocean are thousands of miles long, and if there's a problem, it's hard to know where it occurred. If you have these sensors at different locations, you can sense the damage to the fiber."
Lou said labs have gotten good at transferring the growing roster of 2D materials from one surface to another, but the addition...
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