Letter abstract

Nature Materials 6, 652 - 655 (2007)
Published online: 29 July 2007 | doi:10.1038/nmat1967

Subject Categories: Electronic materials | Sensors and biosensors | Nanoscale materials

Detection of individual gas molecules adsorbed on graphene

F. Schedin1, A. K. Geim1, S. V. Morozov2, E. W. Hill1, P. Blake1, M. I. Katsnelson3 & K. S. Novoselov1


The ultimate aim of any detection method is to achieve such a level of sensitivity that individual quanta of a measured entity can be resolved. In the case of chemical sensors, the quantum is one atom or molecule. Such resolution has so far been beyond the reach of any detection technique, including solid-state gas sensors hailed for their exceptional sensitivity1, 2, 3, 4. The fundamental reason limiting the resolution of such sensors is fluctuations due to thermal motion of charges and defects5, which lead to intrinsic noise exceeding the sought-after signal from individual molecules, usually by many orders of magnitude. Here, we show that micrometre-size sensors made from graphene are capable of detecting individual events when a gas molecule attaches to or detaches from graphene's surface. The adsorbed molecules change the local carrier concentration in graphene one by one electron, which leads to step-like changes in resistance. The achieved sensitivity is due to the fact that graphene is an exceptionally low-noise material electronically, which makes it a promising candidate not only for chemical detectors but also for other applications where local probes sensitive to external charge, magnetic field or mechanical strain are required.

  1. Manchester Centre for Mesoscience and Nanotechnology, University of Manchester, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK
  2. Institute for Microelectronics Technology, 142432 Chernogolovka, Russia
  3. Institute for Molecules and Materials, University of Nijmegen, 6525 ED Nijmegen, Netherlands

Correspondence to: K. S. Novoselov1 e-mail: Konstantin.Novoselov@manchester.ac.uk


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