Many materials scientists resist the hyperbole surrounding graphene. Yet the underlying optimism of the material is beginning to pay dividends as the commerciality of two-dimensional engineering continues to improve. This is most prevalent in the electronics market, where graphene has long been tipped to compete with silicon and other essential materials in sensor manufacturing.
Graphene is an ideal material for sensor manufacturing as the industry focus remains on device miniaturization. It can also facilitate the detection of minute analog and digital signals due to its monomolecular thickness. Researchers at the University of Manchester previously demonstrated the material’s importance in the development of miniscule sensors, engineering the world’s smallest transistor using graphene. Now, Grolltex has manufactured the world’s smallest graphene strain sensor for a major European partner.
What is a Graphene Strain Sensor?
Strain sensors are small yet essential components for electrically measuring mechanical quantities. They are integrated into measuring systems with electronic connections, measuring applied forces as a function of changes in electrical resistance.
A strain sensor has a pre-defined electrical resistance in an unstressed state. This changes when compression or tension act upon it, causing it to plastically deform. The sensor converts this mechanical displacement into a relative change in electrical resistance, facilitating precise detection and calculation of mechanical forces. Graphene strain sensors operate on the same principle at the sub-micron scale. The material can realistically detect compressive and tensile forces as minute as the contractive strength of an individual cardiomyocyte. This offers unparalleled insight into heart cell health with outstanding levels of accuracy.
Grolltex recently developed the world’s smallest graphene strain sensor for nanoscale sensing applications. CEO Jeffrey Draa commented:
“Our strain sensor is very versatile because it is small, flexible, robust and with a gauge factor of up to 1300, it is incredibly sensitive. This means it can be used in a wide variety of applications. For example, it can be layered into the skins of airplanes to sense micro stress in the fuselage or be used as a wearable blood pressure monitor in a skin patch configuration. The prototype we delivered to our European partner was designed to measure any environmental pressure or strain that a silicon microchip might experience while sitting in its packaging. This can be important information for many defense or autonomous vehicle-related device designs”.
“For advanced sensor makers that operate at the nanoscale, there is no better material to design your device with than single layer graphene…We are seeing an explosion of activity in the micro-sensing world as sensor makers are picking up on the versatility and measurement performance benefits of this single atom thick material”.
Graphene Sensors with Grolltex
Grolltex is a world leader in graphene-rolling-technologies, providing unmatched electronics solutions based on single-layer electronics grade graphene. This latest innovation in two-dimensional materials engineering proves the growing commercial and industrial potential of the material and goes a long way to justifying the mainstream media hype of monolayer materials.
‘Electronics’. The University of Manchester, Graphene. [https://www.graphene.manchester.ac.uk/learn/applications/electronics/]