Argonne National Laboratory

Sense like a shark: Saltwater-submersible nickelate film

January 24, 2018

Scientific achievement

A thin film of a samarium nickelate quantum material (SNO) senses changes in electric fields in saltwater while maintaining stability, analogous to the electroreception sensing organ in sharks, which detects the bioelectric fields of prey fish.

Significance and impact

The SNO sensor undergoes a repeatable and reversible phase change mediated by water and driven by an electric field promising a detection range from bioelectric potential of sea species to galvanic potential from ships.

Research details

First principles calculations of SNO-water interactions were performed at the Center for Nanoscale Materials and Argonne Leadership Computing Facility computing clusters, explain the sensing mechanism.

X-ray reflectivity, absorption spectroscopy was performed at the Advanced Photon Source.

DOI:10.1038/nature25008

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