Metallic Nanoislands on Graphene as Highly Sensitive Transducers of Mechanical, Biological, and Optical Signals

AV Zaretski and SE Root and A Savchenko and E Molokanova and AD Printz and L Jibril and G Arya and M Mercola and DJ Lipomi, NANO LETTERS, 16, 1375-1380 (2016).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b04821

This article describes an effect based on the wetting transparency of graphene; the morphology of a metallic film (<= 20 nm) when deposited on graphene by evaporation depends strongly on the identity of the substrate supporting the graphene. This control permits the formation of a range of geometries, such as tightly packed nanospheres, nanocrystals, and island-like formations with controllable gaps down to 3 nm. These graphene-supported structures can be transferred to any surface and function as ultrasensitive mechanical signal transducers with: high sensitivity and range (at least 4 orders of magnitude of strain) for applications in structural health monitoring, electronic skin, measurement of the contractions of cardiomyocytes, and substrates for surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS, including on the tips of optical fibers). These composite films tan thus be treated as a platform technology for multimodal sensing. Moreover, they are low profile, mechanically robust, semitransparent and have the potential for reproducible manufacturing over large areas.

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