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Front. Chem. | doi: 10.3389/fchem.2018.00151

3D printed e-tongue

 Gabriel Gaal1, Tatiana A. da Silva1,  Vladimir Gaál1, Rafael C. Hensel1, Lucas R. Amaral1, Varlei Rodrigues1 and Antonio Riul Jr.1*
  • 1Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil

Nowadays, one of the biggest issues addressed to electronic sensor fabrication is the build-up of efficient electrodes as an alternative way to the expensive, complex and multistage processes required by traditional techniques. Printed electronics arises as an interesting alternative to fulfill this task due to the simplicity and speed to stamp electrodes on various surfaces. Within this context, the Fused Deposition Modeling 3D printing is an emerging, cost-effective and alternative technology to fabricate complex structures that potentiates several fields with more creative ideas and new materials for a rapid prototyping of devices. We show here the fabrication of interdigitated electrodes using a standard home-made CoreXY 3D printer using transparent and graphene-based PLA filaments. Macro 3D printed electrodes were easily assembled within 6 minutes with outstanding reproducibility. The electrodes were also functionalized with different nanostructured thin films via dip-coating Layer-by-Layer technique to develop a 3D printed e-tongue setup. As a proof of concept, the printed e-tongue was applied to soil analysis. A control soil sample was enriched with several macro-nutrients to the plants (N, P, K, S, Mg and Ca) and the discrimination was done by electrical impedance spectroscopy of water solution of the soil samples. The data was analyzed by Principal Component Analysis and the 3D printed sensor distinguished clearly all enriched samples despite the complexity of the soil chemical composition. The 3D printed e-tongue successfully used in soil analysis encourages further investments in developing new sensory tools for precision agriculture and other fields exploiting the simplicity and flexibility offered by the 3D printing techniques.

Keywords: 3D printing, ELECTRONIC TONGUE, Interdigitated electrodes, Conductive 3D printing filament, soil analysis, Soil spectroscopy, precision agriculture

Received: 12 Feb 2018; Accepted: 16 Apr 2018.

Edited by:

Dmitry Kirsanov, Saint Petersburg State University, Russia

Reviewed by:

Hugo Oliveira, Laboratório Ibérico Internacional de Nanotecnologia (INL), Portugal
Carmelo Sgarlata, Università degli Studi di Catania, Italy  

Copyright: © 2018 Gaal, da Silva, Gaál, Hensel, Amaral, Rodrigues and Riul Jr.. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Antonio Riul Jr., Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, Brazil, ariuljr@gmail.com