Researchers from Iowa State University developed a low-cost, easily
produced, graphene-based, sensors-on-tape that can be attached to plants to
provide various kinds of data to researchers and farmers.
"With a tool like this, we can begin to breed plants that are more efficient
in using water," said plant scientist Patrick Schnable. "That's exciting. We
couldn't do this before. But, once we can measure something, we can begin to
The tool, which is now known as "plant tattoo sensor", is making these water
measurements possible, as the tiny graphene sensor can be taped on to
plants. According to the lead researcher Liang Dong, the sensors are made
with graphene oxide, a material that is highly sensitive to water vapor. The
presence of water vapor modifies the conductivity of the material, which is
quantified to accurately measure the release of water vapor from a leaf.
The plant sensors have been successfully tested in lab and pilot field