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Scientists Create Graphene-Based Sensor That Detects Air Pollution In Your Home

18 April 2016, 8:39 am EDT By Deepthi B Tech Times
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A graphene-based sensor that can incredibly detect harmful air pollution at home, has been developed by scientists from the University of Southampton and the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST).

This sensor could prove helpful in combating sick building syndrome (SBS), a condition typically marked by headaches and respiratory problems. Polluted air that is contained within a space can give rise to these health issues.

The team of researchers, including Professors Hiroshi Mizuta, Manoharan Muruganathan and Jian Sun, came together to develop this revolutionary graphene-based sensor.

Graphene can be described as an extremely thin layer of pure carbon - a single, tightly packed layer of carbon atoms bonded together in a hexagonal honeycomb lattice. It is the thinnest and lightest known material and highly sensitive in terms of detecting chemical gases.

Supposedly, the commercially available environmental sensors today, can detect chemical gases only with concentrations of parts per million (ppm). It cannot detect low concentrations of parts per billion (ppb).

However, the newly innovated graphene sensor comes equipped with the advanced capability of detecting low concentrations of ppb.

This capability enables it to detect each and every CO2 molecule, as well as volatile organic compound (VOC) gas molecules that are individually present within the interiors of varied buildings and houses. These molecules are even found on household goods and furniture.

"In contrast to the commercially available environmental monitoring tools, this extreme sensing technology enables us to realize significant miniaturization, resulting in weight and cost reduction in addition to the remarkable improvement in the detection limit from the ppm levels to the ppb levels." said Mizuta.

The study has been published in the journal Science Advances.

Photo: UCL Mathematical and Physical Sciences | Flickr

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