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Ultrafast and Highly Sensitive Chemically Functionalized Graphene Oxide-Based Humidity Sensors: Harnessing Device Performances via the Supramolecular Approach

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journal contribution
posted on 16.09.2020 by Cosimo Anichini, Alessandro Aliprandi, Sai Manoj Gali, Fabiola Liscio, Vittorio Morandi, Andrea Minoia, David Beljonne, Artur Ciesielski, Paolo Samorì
Humidity sensors have been gaining increasing attention because of their relevance for well-being. To meet the ever-growing demand for new cost-efficient materials with superior performances, graphene oxide (GO)-based relative humidity sensors have emerged recently as low-cost and highly sensitive devices. However, current GO-based sensors suffer from important drawbacks including slow response and recovery, as well as poor stability. Interestingly, reduced GO (rGO) exhibits higher stability, yet accompanied by a lower sensitivity to humidity due to its hydrophobic nature. With the aim of improving the sensing performances of rGO, here we report on a novel generation of humidity sensors based on a simple chemical modification of rGO with hydrophilic moieties, i.e., triethylene glycol chains. Such a hybrid material exhibits an outstandingly improved sensing performance compared to pristine rGO such as high sensitivity (31% increase in electrical resistance when humidity is shifted from 2 to 97%), an ultrafast response (25 ms) and recovery in the subsecond timescale, low hysteresis (1.1%), excellent repeatability and stability, as well as high selectivity toward moisture. Such highest-key-performance indicators demonstrate the full potential of two-dimensional (2D) materials when decorated with suitably designed supramolecular receptors to develop the next generation of chemical sensors of any analyte of interest.