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Molecular Electronics for Chemical Sensors

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This lecture will detail the creation of ultrasensitive sensors based on electronically active conjugated polymers (CPs) and carbon nanotubes (CNTs). A central concept that a single nano- or molecular-wire spanning between two electrodes would create an exceptional sensor if binding of a molecule of interest to it would block all electronic transport. The use of molecular electronic circuits to give signal gain is not limited to electrical transport and CP-based fluorescent sensors can provide ultratrace detection of chemical vapors via amplification resulting from exciton migration. Nanowire networks of CNTs provide for a practical approximation to the single nanowire scheme. These methods include abrasion deposition and selectivity is generated by covalent and/or non-covalent binding selectors/receptors to the carbon nanotubes. Sensors for a variety of materials and cross-reactive sensor arrays will be described. The use of carbon nanotube based gas sensors for the detection of ethylene and other gases relevant to agricultural and food production/storage/transportation are being specifically targeted and can be used to create systems that increase production, manage inventories, and minimize losses.

This talk is part of the Materials Chemistry Research Interest Group series.

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