Wrapping droplets in graphene for printed microchips and wearable sensors — ScienceDaily

New research by physicists at the University of Sussex will “significantly advance” a new field of liquid electronics technology by increasing the functionality and resilience of potential applications in printed electronics, wearable health monitors and even batteries.

In his scholarly work published in Art ACS Nano, Scientists in Sussex have relied on their previous work to wrap emulsion drops with graphene and other 2D materials, reducing coatings to atomically thin layers of nanolayers. At the same time, they were able to create electrically conductive liquid emulsions, which are the lowest load of graphene networks ever reported – a total of 0.001 volume.

This means that the next liquid electronic technology – whether it be voltage sensors to monitor physical performance and health, electronic devices printed with emulsion droplets, and even potentially more efficient and durable batteries for electric vehicles, will be cheaper and more durable. because they will require less graphene or other 2D nanolayers covering the droplets.

Another important development was that scientists could now create these electronic drip networks using any liquids – while previous research had focused on conventional oils and water – because they found how to control which drops of liquid were wrapped in graphene, that means that they can design emulsions specifically for the desired application.

A researcher in materials physics at the University of Sussex School of Mathematics and Physics and lead author, Dr. Sean Ogilvy explains the science behind the development: “The potential of 2D materials such as graphene lies in their electronic properties and their suitability for recycling. ; we have developed a process to use the surface area of ​​our nanolayer dispersions to stabilize emulsion droplets with ultrafine coatings.

“Customizing these emulsions allows us to wrap 2D materials around any liquid droplets to exploit their electronic properties. This includes emulsion inks, in which we found that the droplets can be deposited without the effect of the coffee ring, which interferes with the printing of conventional functional inks, which potentially allow the creation of monocotyledonous films for printing transistors and other electronic devices.

“Another interesting development for our research team is that we can now also design and control our emulsions for specific devices, such as wrapping soft polymers, such as silicone, for wearable strain sensors that exhibit increased sensitivity at low graphene loads , and we are also investigating the assembly of the emulsion. materials for battery electrodes to increase the strength of these energy storage devices ”.

Alan Dalton, a professor of experimental physics at the University of Sussex, who was first inspired by salad dressing to explore the potential of adding graphene to liquid emulsions, explains why this development is exciting: opening up the wide potential for real-world applications, being able to do so with any liquid material, this research development will greatly advance a new and scientifically exciting field of liquid electronics. ”

Source of history:

Materials provided by University of Sussex. The original was written by Alice Ingal. Note: Content can be edited by style and length.

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