IEEE Nanotechnology Materials and Devices Conference (NMDC)

Jessica E. Koehne

Carbon Nanomaterial Based Sensors and Devices for NASA Missions

Jessica E. Koehne, NASA Ames Research Center


Carbon nanomaterials have been investigated for their use in NASA missions due to their interesting electronic, mechanical, optical, and thermal properties. At NASA Ames Research Center, we have evaluated carbon nanotubes (CNTs), carbon nanofibers (CNFs), and graphene for electrochemical sensor and electronics applications, including crew health and environmental monitoring. In our earliest work, carbon nanomaterials were controllably grown by chemical vapor deposition to create high-ordered structures capable of high sensitivity and low background measurements. Sensor devices with these structures were manufactured as sensor arrays in combination with traditional photolithography for wafer-scale manufacturing. These sensor arrays have been demonstrated as multiplexed sensors for rapid crew health screening. More recently, carbon nanomaterials have been tailored and processed as printable inks for highly tunable, additive manufacturing of electrochemical sensors and electronics. These printed sensor devices enable on-demand manufacturing in the microgravity environment of space. In this work, we have explored multiple materials, device architectures, and printing methodologies, all suitable for in-space manufacturing of crew health monitoring sensor devices. This presentation will explore the benefits of both manufacturing approaches, on silicon and printed, and highlight their use towards NASA missions.


Dr. Jessica E. Koehne is a Physical Scientist at the NASA Ames Center for Nanotechnology. She received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Davis in 2009, while in collaboration with NASA Ames Research Center. She has spent the past 20 years developing a carbon nanofiber, carbon nanotube, and graphene-based sensor platforms for detection of DNA, rRNA, proteins and neurotransmitters, with applications ranging from point-of-care for astronaut health monitoring including implantable and wearable sensors to the detection of life signatures for planetary exploration. With significant experience in device fabrication including nanomaterial growth and integration, surface chemistry, electrochemical characterization, and sensor validation, she currently leads the highly interdisciplinary Nano-Biosensor Team. She has authored 64 articles in peer-reviewed journals and made 38 scientific presentations, including 21 invited talks. Dr. Koehne received numerous honors and awards including the 2011 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) and the 2018 Women in Aerospace Achievement Award. She serves as the chair of the Electrochemical Society’s Sensor Division, has served on several Ph.D. thesis committees, and is an Adjunct Graduate Faculty member at Boise State University.


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