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Internet of Things to be Transformed by Embedding Graphene Sensors into RFIDs

Researchers at The University of Manchester have integrated graphene sensors into RFIDs, which have the ability to totally transform the Internet of Things (IoT).

Photo credit: The University of Manchester

The scientists layered graphene-oxide (a graphene derivative) over graphene to develop a flexible heterostructure to create humidity sensors for remote sensing with the potential to get link with any wireless network.

Being the first ever two-dimensional material isolated at The University of Manchester in the year 2004, graphene is flexible, stronger than steel, more conductive than copper and lightweight.

From that time, a whole class of other two-dimensional materials has been found out and has been ever increasing.

Researchers can use graphene and similar two-dimensional materials to layer these materials, the same way Lego bricks are stacked, in an accurately selected sequence called as van der Waals heterostructures to develop high-performance structures customized for a particular use.

As detailed in the Scientific Reports journal, the game-changing nature of this innovation is that it enables such sensors to be printed layer after layer for scalable and mass production at a reduced cost. Moreover, the device does not necessitate a battery source as it taps power from the receiver.

Sensors including a RFID enabler are central to the IoT. This innovation can offer different applications such as battery-free smart wireless monitoring for production operations that are sensitive to food safety, moisture, nuclear waste, and healthcare.

The newly devised method has the ability to simplify the way information is collected through its wireless system. Moreover, it is not restricted to a specific wireless network and is compatible with networks such as 5G and WiFi.

The excitement does not end with this new application here, but leads to the future possibilities of integrations of this technique with other 2D materials to open up a new horizon of wireless sensing applications.

Dr Zhirun Hu, Lead Researcher

As stated by Professor Sir Kostya Novoselov, a winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics who coordinated the study, “It is the first example of the printable technology where several 2D materials come together to create a functional device immediately suitable for industrial applications. The Internet of Things is the fast growing segment of technology, and I’m sure that 2D materials will play an important role there.”

Advanced materials are one of the research beacons of The University of Manchester, including interdisciplinary partnership, pioneering discoveries, and cross-sector collaborations that are striving to answer some of the greatest challenges faced by the planet.

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