Newly developed flexible, porous and highly sensitive nitrogen dioxide sensors that can be applied to skin and clothing
Newly developed flexible, porous and highly sensitive nitrogen dioxide sensors that can be applied to skin and clothing have potential applications in health care, environmental health monitoring and military use, according to researchers. Led by Huanyu “Larry” Cheng, assistant professor of engineering science and mechanics at Penn State, the researchers published their sensor designs, which build on previous models, and results in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.
The sensors monitor nitrogen dioxide, either from breath if attached under the nose, or from perspiration, if attached elsewhere on the body. Unlike taking blood samples, the direct skin attachment allows for continuous, long-term monitoring of the gas. Cheng explained that while similar sensors exist, a key differentiator of the new design is breathability.
“The commonly used substrate materials for gas sensors are flexible, but not porous,” he said. “The accumulation of water moisture from the skin surface can potentially lead to irritation or damage to the skin surface. We need to make sure the device can be porous so that moisture can go through the sensor without accumulation on the surface.”
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