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Graphene Sensors That Could Revolutionise The IoT

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

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.

Graphene was the world’s first two-dimensional material
isolated in 2004 at The University of Manchester, it is stronger than steel,
lightweight, flexible and more conductive than copper.

Since then a whole family of other 2D materials have been
discovered and continues to grow.

Using graphene and other 2D materials, scientists can layer
these materials, similar to stacking bricks of Lego in a precisely chosen
sequence known as van der Waals heterostructures to create high-performance
structures tailored to a specific purpose.

As reported in Scientific Reports, the ground breaking
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.

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