Detecting Ammonia Using Graphene Sensors


Using their extensive knowledge of graphene and its properties, a partnership of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Graphenea has developed a sensor array used for sensitive and selective detection of ammonia. The array is comprised of 160 graphene pixels that provide large statistics and thus improved sensing performance. The sensors have been extensively tested under conditions that mimic real-life, which is a step forward to practical use.

Components of Graphene Sensor Array

The sensing aspect of the array consists of two components: a graphene surface and porphyrins. Porphyrins are a

class of organic molecules that are highly sensitive, and are also able to be attached to the graphene surface. They also produce minimal deviation to graphene’s outstanding electrical properties. The sensor works through ammonia molecules attaching to the porphyrins, which causes the compound to become a strong dipole that changes electrical properties of the graphene. This change in property is detected as a sign of the presence of ammonia.

The graphene sensor array is built as an insertable chip to be used alongside a custom readout system, which is connected to a computer via USB. This system works in tandem with specialized data acquisition software, to perform rapid high-quality readout of data from hundreds of sensors, which is a significant improvement over previous prototype graphene sensor devices. By monitoring such a large number of sensors, performance variations and reproducibility can also be monitored which leads to improvement of sensor array performance.

Read the full article here.

About the National Graphene Association (NGA)

The National Graphene Association is the main organization and body in the U.S. advocating and promoting the commercialization of graphene. NGA is focused on addressing critical issues such as policy and standards development that will result in effective integration of graphene and graphene based materials globally. NGA brings together current and future graphene stakeholders — entrepreneurs, companies, researchers, developers and suppliers, investors, venture capitalists and government agencies — to drive innovation, and to promote and facilitate the commercialization of graphene products and technologies.

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