Stability of organic electronics in water is a major research challenge. For this reason,
organic electronics has yet to see any sensing application in aqueous environment.
However, as understanding of underlying mechanism of stability aspect is becoming
clearer, new developmental efforts to make water compatible organic polymer devices
are taking place.
Recently, Professor Zhenan Bao’s group in the department of chemical engineering at Stanford
university revealed in a paper published in the journal of Nature Communications that
solution- processable organic polymer could be stable under both in freshwater and
in seawater. Developed organic field-effect transistor sensor is able to detect mercury ions
in the marine environment (high salt environment). Researchers believe that the work has
the potential to develop inexpensive, ink-jet printed, and large-scale environmental monitoring devices.
[References: O. Knopfmacher, M.L. Hammock, A.L. Appleton, G. Schwartz, J. Mei, T. Lei, J. Pei,
and Z. Bao; Nature Communications, 5, 2954, January 6, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/ncomms3954]