An optical sensor platform based on nanopaper

Nanopaper, made from cellulose like traditional paper, shows much lower surface roughness and much higher transparency than traditional paper. This is due to the nanoscale dimensions of the cellulose fibers (‘nanocellulose’) used for its production. Nanocellulose is a sustainable material that can be extracted from plant cellulose pulp or synthesized by certain bacteria.

Significant area for nanopaper applications are sensors. Paper-based sensors promise to be simple, portable, disposable, low power-consuming, and inexpensive sensor devices that will find ubiquitous use in medicine, detecting explosives, toxic substances, and environmental studies.

“To date, bacterial nanopaper has been scarcely explored for optical (bio)sensing applications,” Arben Merkoçi, ICREA Research Professor and director of the Nanobioelectronics & Biosensors Group at Institut Català de Nanociencia i Nanotecnologia, tells Nanowerk. “Hence, we sought to design, fabricate, and test simple, disposable and versatile sensing platforms based on this material.”