While more advanced technology sectors have been late in adopting graphene, it finds plenty of interest in both lower- and high-tech applications. One of these applications is sensors based on graphene. Different industry sectors have steadily been using these sensors.
This is because graphene can be the basis of an effective sensing platform. Several interesting applications manifest this in many ways. Of these, the biosensor subsector is especially notable in attracting heavy investment. This trend is likely to continue even beyond 2022.
With graphene properties being exhaustively documented, many are now aware that they can do a lot with graphene and that many applications can benefit from its properties. Although many of these aspects are often subject to some hype, the fundamental properties of graphene make it a superior material of choice. This is primarily of account of graphene being suitable as an active sensing surface in many sensing applications.
The major advantage of graphene is its inherent thinness. This allows sensing devices made from graphene to be far more flexible and smaller in comparison to many other materials. In addition, graphene forms a very high-end active surface area.
In applications involving sensing, a high surface area is beneficial as it allows interaction with a larger range of molecules like different gases, water, biomolecules, and many other molecular stimuli. With graphene being an active surface, it is possible to attach a number of different molecular receptors and molecules to a sheet of graphene. This helps to create sensors that can detect specific molecules.
However, graphene has more advantages. Because of the high electrical conductivity of graphene, its high charge transfer properties, and high charge carrier mobility, sensors made from graphene exhibit very high sensitivity. That means, graphene sensors will generate a detectable response even from a small interaction with the environment. This happens because the excellent properties of graphene help in changing the resistivity across the graphene sheet with each small interaction. Therefore, graphene sensor help to detect even the smallest amounts of stimuli from the environment.
Because of their innate thinness, it is possible to make graphene-based sensors in small form factors, while retaining their highly sensitive sensing characteristics. It is also possible to tailor the sensors chemically for detecting a range of stimuli from the environment. This characteristic has led to the generation of much commercial interest in developing various graphene-based sensors for a variety of commercial markets involving many applications.
For instance, Paragraf has a graphene-based Hall-effect sensor that can measure changes in a magnetic field using the Hall effect. Therefore, this has increased the possibility of adding many new and interesting application areas to those that graphene sensors had not ventured into so far.
In the past year, Paragraf has demonstrated that Hall-effect sensors based on graphene are highly sensitive. They can measure currents flowing in batteries within electric vehicles for monitoring their status. Paragraf makes these sensors by depositing single layers of contamination-free graphene directly on a wafer. They repeat this following standard semiconductor manufacturing processes. This has allowed them to make several volume applications possible now, including those for fast and sensitive biosensors for detecting biomarkers within liquid samples.