Clean air is a basic necessity for human existence. Poor air quality has accounted for over 4.2 million deaths globally in 2016. As such, there is a need for highly sensitive gas sensors which can be integrated into an early detection system, should air quality fall below predefined thresholds.
In this project, Nanoparticle-2D hybrid structures for smart environmental sensing (2DSense), we have developed highly sensitive environmental gas sensors (NOx, CO) through the innovative use of two-dimensional material devices decorated with functional nanoparticles. 2D material offer new possibilities to develop ultra-sensitive sensors due to their high mobilities, surface-to-volume ratios and tuneable electronic structure. Their gas sensing selectivity and sensitivity can be further tailored by decorating their surfaces with nanoparticles specific to a particular gas.
2Dsense was a joint collaboration between SINTEF, Norway and The Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD), India supported by the Research Council of Norway and the Department of Science and Technology India. 2D material heterostructures were developed by SINTEF while work on the nanoparticles was carried out by IITD. Scientists from both institutes visited each other and participated in joint experiments and discussions. International cooperation played an important role in this project with participation in advisory roles of leading research groups at The University of Manchester (UK) and Kansas State University (US).
We have met the objectives on the project namely,
- We have fabricated sensors capable of detecting NOx and CO down to single digit PPB levels
- We have fabricated size selected nano particles of various materials
- We have fabricated 2D based heterostructure devices
- We have fabricated hybrid nanoparticle decorated 2D heterostructure devices
- We have developed a road map for potential commercialisation
- We have published over 7 peer-reviewed scientific journals in the reporting period
- We have held two workshops: one in Norway and one in India
- We have cultivated scientific and cultural exchange between Norway and India
Going forward the results of this project are being used as the basis for larger EU projects as we aim to build on these results and develop scalable approaches to hybrid 2D heterostructure sensors.
2Dsense was successful in proving its hypothesis. We showed that nanoparticle hybrid 2D heterostructure sensors have significantly higher sensitivity and selectivity than their individual constituents.
The project also achieved its main and secondary objectives
- We have shown sensitivity towards NOx in the low ppb range
- We have fabricated nanoparticles with narrow size distributions
- We have fabricated 2D material heterostructures
- We have carried out an evaluation/system specification of a potential sensing system
- We have published 8 journal articles at the time of reporting
- We have carried out one workshop in India and another in Norway
- The scientific and cultural collaboration between Norway and India has been increased with over 4 visits in each direction and several joint publications
Nanoparticle-2D hybrid structures for smart environmental sensing (2DSense) brings together leading research institutes in Norway (SINTEF) and India (IIT Delhi) in a collaborative project to make hybrid 2D heterostructure interface nanoparticle devices that can detect NOx and CO with sensitivities in the low ppb range for smart environmental sensing. Poor air quality has contributed to over 4.2 million deaths globally and is a significant contributor to a poor quality of life experienced by many people around the world. There is therefore a need to develop ultra-sensitive and selective gas sensors for accurate detection of hazardous environmental gases.
The rise of interest in 2D materials offers new possibilities in the development of ultra-sensitive and selective gas sensors. This is due to their unmatched surface to volume, high mobilities and tuneable electronic structure. These materials can further be enhanced decorating their surface with specific and well controlled nanoparticles which enhance gas adsorption. Gas sensors will not only be developed alone; signal processing and communication protocols will be evaluated towards a truly smart system.
Project scientists from both SINTEF and IIT Delhi will work collaborative to achieve the main goals of the project. Scientists will also travel and work at both institutions thought the project period to ensure there is good knowledge transfer and to develop a deep collaboration.
2DSense reaches out the global scientific community by collaborating with world class researchers from both The University of Manchester and Kansas State University.