This ultrathin sensor might save your lungs—and the local weather

Left: Atomic-resolution electron microscopy picture of the bilayer and trilayer areas of Re0.5Nb0.5S2 revealing its stacking order. Proper: Actual-space cost switch plot displaying the cost switch from Re0.5Nb0.5S2 to the NO2 molecule. Coloration key: Re proven in navy; Nb in violet; S in yellow; N in inexperienced; H in grey; O in blue; and C in purple. Credit score: Alex Zettl/Berkeley Lab

Nitrogen dioxide, an air pollutant emitted by fossil fuel-powered automobiles and gas-burning stoves will not be solely dangerous for the local weather—it is dangerous for our well being. Lengthy-term publicity to NO2 has been linked to elevated coronary heart illness, respiratory illnesses equivalent to bronchial asthma, and infections.


Nitrogen dioxide is odorless and invisible—so that you want a particular sensor that may precisely detect hazardous concentrations of the poisonous fuel. However most presently out there sensors are energy-intensive as they normally should function at excessive temperatures to realize appropriate efficiency.

An ultrathin sensor, developed by a staff of researchers from Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley, may very well be the reply.

Of their paper printed within the journal Nano Letters, the analysis staff reported an atomically skinny “2D” sensor that works at room temperature and thus consumes much less energy than typical sensors.

The researchers say that the brand new 2D sensor—which is constructed from a monolayer alloy of rhenium niobium disulfide—additionally boasts superior chemical specificity and restoration time.

Not like different 2D units produced from supplies equivalent to graphene, the brand new 2D sensor electrically responds selectively to nitrogen dioxide molecules, with minimal response to different poisonous gases equivalent to ammonia and formaldehyde. Moreover, the brand new 2D sensor is ready to detect ultralow concentrations of nitrogen dioxide of at the least 50 elements per billion, stated Amin Azizi, a postdoctoral scholar from UC Berkeley and lead creator of the present examine.

As soon as a sensor based mostly on molybdenum disulfide or carbon nanotubes has detected nitrogen dioxide, it may possibly take hours to recuperate to its unique state at room temperature. “However our sensor takes just some minutes,” Azizi stated.

The brand new sensor is not simply ultrathin—it is also versatile and clear, which makes it an ideal candidate for wearable environmental-and-health-monitoring sensors. “If nitrogen dioxide ranges within the native setting exceed 50 elements per billion, that may be very harmful for somebody with bronchial asthma, however proper now, private nitrogen dioxide fuel sensors are impractical.” Azizi stated. Their sensor, if built-in into smartphones or different wearable electronics, might fill that hole, he added.

Berkeley Lab postdoctoral researcher and co-author Mehmet Dogan relied on the Cori supercomputer on the Nationwide Power Analysis Scientific Computing Heart(NERSC), a supercomputing person facility at Berkeley Lab, to theoretically determine the underlying sensing mechanism.

Alex Zettl and Marvin Cohen, school scientists in Berkeley Lab’s Supplies Sciences Division and professors of physics at UC Berkeley, co-led the examine.


Scientists show tunable, atomically skinny semiconductors


Extra info:
Amin Azizi et al. Excessive-Efficiency Atomically-Skinny Room-Temperature NO2 Sensor, Nano Letters (2020). DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.0c02221

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Lawrence Berkeley Nationwide Laboratory

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This ultrathin sensor might save your lungs—and the local weather (2021, March 29)
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