Wide-Area Strain Sensors based upon Graphene-Polymer Composite Coatings Probed by Raman Spectroscopy

Arun Prakash Aranga Raju, Amanda Lewis, Brian Derby, Robert J. Young, Ian A. Kinloch, Recep Zan, Kostya S. Novoselov

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Functional graphene optical sensors are now viable due to the recent developments in hand-held Raman spectroscopy and the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) of graphene films. Herein, the strain in graphene/poly (methyl methacrylate) sensor coatings is followed using Raman band shifts. The performance of an "ideal" mechanically-exfoliated single crystal graphene flake is compared to a scalable CVD graphene film. The dry-transferred mechanically exfoliated sample has no residual stresses, whereas the CVD sample is in compression following the solvent evaporation during its transfer. The behavior of the sensors under cyclic deformation shows an initial breakdown of the graphene-polymer interface with the interface then stabilizing after several cycles. The Raman 2D band shift rates per unit strain of the exfoliated graphene are ≈35% higher than CVD graphene making the former more strain sensitive. However, for practical wide-area applications, CVD graphene coatings are still viable candidates as a Raman system can be used to read the strain in any 5 μm diameter spot in the coating to an absolute accuracy of ≈0.01% strain and resolution of ≈27 microstrains (μs), which compares favorably to commercial photoelastic systems.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2865-2874
    Number of pages9
    JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
    Issue number19
    Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2014


    • CVD graphene
    • polymer composites
    • Raman spectroscopy
    • strain sensors


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