New low-cost graphene-based sensors for plants to enable new opportunities

Iowa State University researchers have created a new, low-cost, easily produced, graphene-based sensors-on-tape that can be attached to plants to provide data that was previously very hard to collect. This can help farmers to breed plants that are more efficient in using water, for example, but also open new possibilities for creating new sensors for biomedical diagnostics, for checking the structural integrity of buildings, monitoring the environment and, after appropriate modifications, for testing crops for diseases or pesticides.

''Tattoo'' sensors for plants image

The tiny graphene sensors that can be taped to plants, and the researchers have dubbed it a “plant tattoo sensor”. The plant sensors have been successfully tested in lab and pilot field experiments. The graphene-on-tape technology in this study has also been used to produce wearable strain and pressure sensors, including sensors built into a “smart glove” that measures hand movements.

New method could produce industrial scale graphene-enhanced e-textiles

Scientists at The University of Manchester have reported the development of a simple and cost-effective method to manufacture graphene-based wearable electronic textiles on an industrial scale. The new method could allow graphene e-textiles to be manufactured at commercial production rates of 150 meters per minute, the team said. “Our simple and cost-effective way of producing multi-functional graphene textiles could easily be scaled up for many real-life applications, such as sportswear, military gear, and medical clothing,” said the researchers.

Manchetser develops new method for GO e-textiles image

The team reversed the previous process of coating textiles with graphene-based materials; Traditionally, the textiles are first coated with graphene oxide, which is then converted into its functional form of reduced graphene oxide. Instead, the researchers first reduced the graphene oxide in solution, and then coated the textiles with the reduced form.

Swinburne secures over $2.5 million to advance GO-based energy storage solution project

Swinburne researchers have received 3.45 million AUD (around $2.64 USD) in funding to continue work on a project investigating energy storage alternatives using graphene oxide. Swinburne will receive the grant as part of the Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) funds commissioned by the Australian Government. The Swinburne Centre for Micro-Photonics is collaborating with Flinders University as well as First Graphene and Kremford.

The ‘High performance energy storage alternative to lithium ion batteries’ project is working towards creating commercially viable and chemical-free batteries using graphene. This involves the production of a graphene oxide-based supercapacitor. Swinburne Researchers are developing the Bolt Electricity Storage Technology (BEST) battery – a graphene oxide-based supercapacitor offering high performance and low-cost energy storage.

NGI and William Blythe to collaborate on graphene-enhanced energy storage project

The NGI at The University of Manchester and William Blythe have announced the start of a new joint research project, targeting the development of high capacity graphene-related materials for use in the electric vehicle market.

The project will combine William Blythe’s core capabilities in inorganic synthetic chemistry and their graphene-oxide with the specialist experience of The University of Manchester’s Professor Robert Dryfe and the energy storage team at the NGI.

Manchester team creates graphene oxide membranes that can filter organic solvents

Researchers at the National Graphene Institute and School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science at The University of Manchester have developed an ultra-thin membrane using graphene-oxide sheets, that were assembled in a way that they were able to completely remove various organic dyes, dissolved in methanol, which were as small as a nanometre. This is exciting as GO membranes were once thought to be permeable only to aqueous solutions, but the researchers developed a new form of graphene oxide membrane that can filter organic solvents.

Manchetser and NGI team created unique GO membranes image

In the newly developed ultrathin membranes, graphene-oxide sheets are assembled in such a way that pinholes formed during the assembly are interconnected by graphene nanochannels, which produces an atomic-scale sieve allowing the large flow of solvents through the membrane. When used to filter Cognac and whisky, the membrane permitted alcohol to pass through but trapped the larger molecules that gives the whisky its color. Professor Nair, which led the group, said that "the clear whisky smells similar to the original whisky but we are not allowed to drink it in the lab, however it was a funny Friday night experiment!”

XFNANO: Graphene and graphene-like materials since 2009XFNANO: Graphene and graphene-like materials since 2009