Researchers uncover the mechanism of electric field detection in microscale graphene sensors

The ability to sense the magnitude and polarity of an electric field is of great scientific interest. Applications include early prediction of lightning and detection of supersonic aircraft. Presently, field mills are widely used electric field sensors. While they can detect electric fields of either polarity and field of magnitude as low as 1 V/m, the large size (>1m) hinders their wide use for real-life applications. Also, the motor inside the field mill, which enables the detection of the electric field, is prone to failure. Some efforts have been made to miniaturize the electric field sensor by introducing MEMS-based sensors. While they are small and do not involve any moving parts, the complex fabrication process makes these sensors less cost-effective.

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