Biodegradable, three-dimensional colorimetric fliers for environmental monitoring

Hong Joon Yoon, Geumbee Lee, Jin Tae Kim, Jae Young Yoo, Haiwen Luan, Shyuan Cheng, Soohyeon Kang, Huong Le Thien Huynh, Hyeonsu Kim, Jaehong Park, Joohee Kim, Sung Soo Kwak, Hanjun Ryu, Jihye Kim, Yeon Sik Choi, Hak Young Ahn, Junhwan Choi, Seyong Oh, Yei Hwan Jung, Minsu ParkWubin Bai, Yonggang Huang, Leonardo P. Chamorro, Yoonseok Park, John A. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recently reported winged microelectronic systems offer passive flight mechanisms as a dispersal strategy for purposes in environmental monitoring, population surveillance, pathogen tracking, and other applications. Initial studies indicate potential for technologies of this type, but advances in structural and responsive materials and in aerodynamically optimized geometries are necessary to improve the functionality and expand the modes of operation. Here, we introduce environmentally degradable materials as the basis of 3D fliers that allow remote, colorimetric assessments of multiple environmental parameters—pH, heavy metal concentrations, and ultraviolet exposure, along with humidity levels and temperature. Experimental and theoretical investigations of the aerodynamics of these systems reveal design considerations that include not only the geometries of the structures but also their mass distributions across a range of bioinspired designs. Preliminary field studies that rely on drones for deployment and for remote colorimetric analysis by machine learning interpretation of digital images illustrate scenarios for practical use.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereade3201
JournalScience Advances
Issue number51
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments:W ethankV .W .YangandZ.Cai(ForestProductsLaboratory,USDAForest Service)forthehelpinbiodegradationtestandstudies.Funding:Thematerialsand engineeringeffortsweresupportedbytheCenterforBio-IntegratedElectronicsoftheSimpson QuerreyInstituteatNorthwesternUniversity.ThisworkmadeuseoftheNUFABfacilityof Northwestern University’s NUANCE Center, which has received support from the Soft and HybridNanotechnologyExperimental(SHyNE)Resource(NSFECCS-1542205);theMRSEC program(NSFDMR-1720139)attheMaterialsResearchCenter;theInternationalInstitutefor Nanotechnology(IIN);theKeckFoundation;andtheStateofIllinois,throughtheIIN.Thiswork wassupportedbytheNationalResearchFoundationofKorea(NRF)grantfundedbytheKorea government(MSIT)(2022R1F1A1073284).Authorcontributions:Conceptualization:H.-J.Y ., G.L.,J.-T .K., Y .P ., andJ.A.R.Investiga tion: H.-J.Y ., G.L.,J.-T .K., J.-Y .Y ., H.L.,S.C.,S.K.,H.L.T .H., H.K.,J.P ., JooheeKim,S.S.K.,H.R.,JihyeKim,Y .C., H.-Y .A., J.C.,S.O.,Y .H.J., M.P ., andW .B. Methodology: Y .H.J., G.L.,J.-T .K., J.-Y .Y ., L.P .C., Y .H., andY .P .Fabrication:H.-J.Y ., G.L.,H.L.T .H., andH.-Y .A. Visualization:H.-J.Y ., G.L.,J.-T .K., J.-Y .Y ., andH.L.Supervision:L.P .C., Y .P ., andJ.A.R.Writing— originaldraft:H.-J.Y ., G.L.,J.-T .K., J.-Y .Y ., andH.L.Writing—reviewandediting:H.-J.Y ., G.L.,J.-T .K., J.-Y .Y ., H.L.,Y .C., L.P .C., Y .P ., andJ.A.R.Competinginterests:Theauthorsdeclarethattheyhave nocompetinginterests.Dataandmaterialsavailability:Alldataneededtoevaluatethe conclusionsinthepaperarepresentinthepaperand/ortheSupplementaryMaterials.

Funding Information:
We thank V. W. Yang and Z. Cai (Forest Products Laboratory, USDA Forest Service) for the help in biodegradation test and studies. The materials and engineering efforts were supported by the Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics of the Simpson Querrey Institute at Northwestern University. This work made use of the NUFAB facility of Northwestern University’s NUANCE Center, which has received support from the Soft and Hybrid Nanotechnology Experimental (SHyNE) Resource (NSF ECCS-1542205); the MRSEC program (NSF DMR-1720139) at the Materials Research Center; the International Institute for Nanotechnology (IIN); the Keck Foundation; and the State of Illinois, through the IIN. This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MSIT) (2022R1F1A1073284).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 The Authors, some rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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