Graphene nanoribbons as flexible docks for chemiresistive sensing of gas phase explosives†
Interpretation of chemiresistive sensor measurements is made difficult by the fact that similar conductance changes may be produced by different adsorbed species. This fundamental ambiguity may be addressed by formulating a new docking paradigm. Instead of decorating graphene with ligands whose structure is well suited to bind with a particular target molecule, a generic dock in the form of a flexible, semiconducting graphene nanoribbon (GNR) may be employed. If the deformed shape of the GNR is then varied, via mechanical actuation, a two dimensional signature (sensor current versus bias voltage and GNR deformation) of the target molecule may be obtained. Ab initio modeling results indicate that this signature may be used to distinguish explosives from background gases and to discriminate between chemically similar explosives.