Research ArticleAPPLIED PHYSICS

Flexible graphene photodetectors for wearable fitness monitoring

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Science Advances  13 Sep 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 9, eaaw7846
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw7846

Abstract

Wearable health and wellness trackers based on optical detection are promising candidates for public health uses due to their noninvasive tracking of vital health signs. However, so far, the use of rigid technologies hindered the ultimate performance and form factor of the wearable. Here, we demonstrate a new class of flexible and transparent wearables based on graphene sensitized with semiconducting quantum dots (GQD). We show several prototype wearable devices that are able to monitor vital health signs noninvasively, including heart rate, arterial oxygen saturation (SpO2), and respiratory rate. Operation with ambient light is demonstrated, offering low-power consumption. Moreover, using heterogeneous integration of a flexible ultraviolet (UV)–sensitive photodetector with a near-field communication circuit board allows wireless communication and power transfer between the photodetectors and a smartphone, offering battery-free operation. This technology paves the way toward seamlessly integrated wearables, and empowers the user through wireless probing of the UV index.

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