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Colloidal nanoelectronic state machines based on 2D materials for aerosolizable electronics


A previously unexplored property of two-dimensional electronic materials is their ability to graft electronic functionality onto colloidal particles to access local hydrodynamics in fluids to impart mobility and enter spaces inaccessible to larger electronic systems. Here, we demonstrate the design and fabrication of fully autonomous state machines built onto SU-8 particles powered by a two-dimensional material-based photodiode. The on-board circuit connects a chemiresistor circuit element and a memristor element, enabling the detection and storage of information after aerosolization, hydrodynamic propulsion to targets over 0.6 m away, and large-area surface sensing of triethylamine, ammonia and aerosolized soot in inaccessible locations. An incorporated retroreflector design allows for facile position location using laser-scanning optical detection. Such state machines may find widespread application as probes in confined environments, such as the human digestive tract, oil and gas conduits, chemical and biosynthetic reactors, and autonomous environmental sensors.

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This work was funded by a 2015 US Office of Naval Research Multi University Research Initiative (MURI) grant on Foldable and Adaptive Two-Dimensional Electronics (FATE) at MIT, Harvard and University of Southern California. V.B.K. is supported by The Swiss National Science Foundation (projects nos P2ELP3_162149 and P300P2_174469). Microfabrication for this work was performed at the Harvard University Center for Nanoscale Systems (CNS), a member of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure Network (NNCI), which is supported by the National Science Foundation under NSF award no. 1541959. D.K. is supported by a Grant-in-Aid for JSPS Fellows (JSPS KAKENHI grant no. 15J07423) and Encouragement of Young Scientists (B) (JSPS KAKENHI grant no. JP16K17485) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

Author information

V.B.K. and M.S.S. conceived the idea and planned experiments with the assistance of P.L., D.K. and A.T.L. V.B.K. fabricated samples, performed experimental measurements, and analysed data with the assistance of P.L. and D.K. V.B.K. and J.A.L. fabricated 2D materials with inputs from Y.S., P.L. and D.K. V.B.K., A.L.C. and M.S.S. wrote the manuscript with inputs from all the authors. All authors contributed to discussions informing the research.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Correspondence to Michael S. Strano.

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Further reading

Fig. 1: CSM fabrication and aerosolization.
Fig. 2: Individual components of CSM.
Fig. 3: Aerosolizable electronics.
Fig. 4: CSMs for monitoring pipeline status.
Fig. 5: Large-area sensing.
Fig. 6: CSM standoff detection.