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Metamaterial-Free Flexible Graphene-Enabled Terahertz Sensors for Pesticide Detection at Bio-Interface

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journal contribution
posted on 18.09.2020, 02:29 by Wendao Xu, Yuxin Huang, Ruiyun Zhou, Qi Wang, Jifan Yin, Junichiro Kono, Jianfeng Ping, Lijuan Xie, Yibin Ying
There is an increasing recognition that terahertz (THz) spectroscopy can be used for high-sensitivity molecular sensing. Therefore, in recent years, much work has been devoted to developing flexible, compact, and high-sensitivity THz sensors. However, most designs employ metamaterials, which require complicated, and often expensive, fabrication procedures. Also, the metamaterial structures create a gap between the sensor surface and the target surface, which decreases the effective contact area between them, resulting in reduced sensing performance. Here, we fabricated a metamaterial-free graphene-based THz sensor with user-designed patterns for sensing at bio-interfaces. External molecules can strongly interact with π electrons in graphene, which moves the Fermi level and changes the amount of THz absorption. We used this sensor to successfully detect chlorpyrifos methyl with a limit of detection at 0.13 mg/L. We also detected pesticide molecules of a concentration of 0.60 mg/L on the surface of an apple, revealing the flexibility of this sensor. The flexible graphene THz sensor showed high sensing stability and robustness over 1000 cycles of bending. These results show that our graphene-based thin-film sensors are easy to fabricate, flexible, versatile, and suited for a wide range of sensing applications.