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Quantitative volatile organic compound sensing with liquid crystal core fibers

  • Polymer fibers with liquid crystals (LCs) in the core have potential as autonomous sensors of airborne volatile organic compounds (VOCs), with a high surface-to-volume ratio enabling fast and sensitive response and an attractive non-woven textile form factor. We demonstrate their ability to continuously and quantitatively measure the concentration of toluene, cyclohexane, and isopropanol as representative VOCs, via the impact of each VOC on the LC birefringence. The response is fully reversible and repeatable over several cycles, the response time can be as low as seconds, and high sensitivity is achieved when the operating temperature is near the LC-isotropic transition temperature. We propose that a broad operating temperature range can be realized by combining fibers with different LC mixtures, yielding autonomous VOC sensors suitable for integration in apparel or in furniture that can compete with existing consumer-grade electronic VOC sensors in terms of sensitivity and response speed.

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Document Type:Article
Author:Katrin Schelski, Catherine G. Reyes, Lukas Pschyklenk, Peter-Michael Kaul, Jan P. F. Lagerwall
Parent Title (English):Cell Reports Physical Science
Article Number:100661
Place of publication:Amsterdam
Publishing Institution:Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
Date of first publication:2021/11/22
Copyright:© 2021 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the CC BY license.
Funding:The contribution of C.G.R. was made possible by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), operated by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, for the U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-AC52-07NA27344. This article’s release no. is LLNL-JRNL-819466. Financial support from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007-2013)/ERC (CoG project INTERACT, grant agreement no. 648763) and from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Germany (project OptoSpin [FKZ 13FH023IX6]) is gratefully acknowledged.
Keyword:Liquid crystal; core-sheath fibers; electrospinning; gas sensor; non-woven fiber mats; volatile organic compound (VOC) sensing; wearable technology
Departments, institutes and facilities:Fachbereich Angewandte Naturwissenschaften
Institut für Sicherheitsforschung (ISF)
Projects:OptoSpin - IngenieurNachwuchs 2016: Optische Gassensorik mit dotierten Flüssigkristallen verbunden mit koaxialem Elektrospinnen (DE/BMBF/13FH023IX6)
Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC):6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 66 Chemische Verfahrenstechnik / 660 Chemische Verfahrenstechnik
Entry in this database:2021/12/16
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International