Flexible vapour sensors using single walled carbon nanotubes

Kunjal Parikh, Kyle Cattanach, Rashmi Rao, Dong Seok Suh, Aimei Wu, Sanjeev K. Manohar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

151 Scopus citations


Thin, strongly adhering films of single-walled carbon nanotube bundles (SWNT) on flexible substrates such as poly(ethyleneterephthalate) (PET) were used for vapour sensing (hexane, toluene, acetone, chloroform, acetonitrile, methanol, water, etc.). These sensors are extremely easy to fabricate using the line patterning method. For example, '4-probe' sensor patterns are drawn on a computer and then printed on overhead transparency (PET) sheets. These PET patterns were coated with films of electronically conductive SWNT bundles (1-2 μm thick) by dip-coating in aqueous surfactant-supported dispersions and mounted in glass chambers equipped for vapour sensing. Experiments conducted under saturated vapour conditions in air showed sensor responses that correlated well with solvent polarity [ET(30) scale]. Similar results were obtained under controlled vapour conditions (no air) at 10,000 ppm. Control experiments using films of carbon black on PET (Aquadag-E®), also prepared by the line patterning method, showed very little response to vapours under identical experimental conditions. The sensors are very flexible, e.g., they can be bent to diameters as small as 10 mm without significantly compromising sensor function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-63
Number of pages9
JournalSensors and Actuators, B: Chemical
Issue number1
StatePublished - 17 Jan 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge helpful discussions with Professor Alan G. MacDiarmid and for financial support from The University of Texas at Dallas. The authors are indebted to Mr. Harsha Kolla for material assistance, and Mr. Keith Bradshaw and Mr. Tom Chaddick for valuable assistance in experimental design.


  • All-organic sensors
  • Flexible sensors
  • Line patterning
  • Organic vapour sensing
  • SWNT sensors
  • Transparent organic circuits


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