Thursday, February 15, 2024

Process Controlled Ruthenium on 2D Engineered V-MXene via Atomic Layer Deposition for Human Healthcare Monitoring

Engineering 2D MXene Family with Precious Metals: A novel approach has been introduced for the engineering of the 2D MXene family using precious metals through ALD techniques. This development opens new possibilities in personal healthcare devices, clean energy conversion, and storage systems by enabling the integration of precious metals like Ru, Ir, Pt, and Pd at an atomic scale, enhancing surface activity and energy performance​​.

In the study, a traveling-wave type thermal Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) reactor (Lucida D-100, NCD Technology, Korea) was utilized to deposit ruthenium films on SiO2/Si wafers and delaminated V2CTx MXene. The ruthenium metal-organic precursor used was tricarbonyl(trimethylenemethane)ruthenium, [Ru(TMM)(CO)3], provided by TANAKA Precious Metals (Japan). Oxygen (O2) served as the reactant gas in the deposition process. The ALD process involved a sequence of precursor pulsing, nitrogen purging, reactant gas pulsing, and another nitrogen purging to ensure self-limiting growth and uniform film deposition.

A schematic of atomic layer deposition process and step coverage of ALD-Ru film. Credit: Advanced Science (2023). DOI: 10.1002/advs.202206355

The key highlights and potential applications of this research include:

Enhanced Temperature Sensing Performance: The delaminated V-MXene engineered with ruthenium via ALD shows a threefold increase in temperature sensing performance compared to V-MXene alone. This improvement is attributed to the highly ordered few-layer structure of V-MXene and the controlled atomic doping of ruthenium, forming a heterostructure that enhances sensing and reversibility.

Advanced Material Characterization: The study uses high-resolution electron microscopy techniques coupled with next-generation technology for detailed investigation of the heterostructure's formation, providing insights into the role of ruthenium in improving the sensor's performance.

Potential for Healthcare Applications: The sensor's high sensitivity and reliability in temperature detection make it suitable for various healthcare applications, including real-time skin temperature monitoring, non-contact touch, and breathing rate detection. This could be particularly useful for personal healthcare devices, offering a non-invasive way to monitor vital signs and detect potential health issues early.

Human-Machine Interface: The sensor's ability to detect temperature changes accurately and reliably can be applied in human-machine interfaces, such as wearable devices or smart textiles, enhancing user interaction through temperature-sensitive controls or feedback mechanisms.

Scalability and Environmental Consideration: The use of an industrially scalable ALD technique for sensor development, combined with a mild etching process for V-MXene synthesis, points towards the potential for large-scale production with reduced environmental impact.

Versatility and Multifunctionality: The combination of V-MXene's large surface area, hydrophilicity, and the electronic properties of ruthenium suggests that beyond temperature sensing, this material system could be explored for other applications like humidity sensing, energy storage, and conversion, indicating a broad scope for future research and development.

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