Engineering 2 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, California 95064

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Presenter:  Greg Whiting

Description: High spatial density monitoring of the environment is essential for improving the understanding and management of natural systems. This is of particular importance in managed soils, where sensing can enable optimization of agricultural inputs, increased carbon storage, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and enhanced soil health. Print-based manufacturing of electronic systems enables the fabrication of large numbers of unconventional sensors that utilize a wide range of materials that are compatible with natural environments allowing the capture of useful, high-density information. This talk will describe recent progress in the BEEM Lab for enabling sustainable environmental practices through distributed monitoring using printed electronic devices. Two different approaches will be described 1) direct sensing in soil and 2) integration of sensors with plant tissues. In this first case printable biodegradable materials and their incorporation into devices for monitoring soil moisture will be described. Biodegradable electronic materials can also be used to create sensors for determining the microbially driven decomposition of organic matter in soil (an important factor in understanding soil health and carbon cycling) through resistance changes caused by the action of biotic soil factors on composite biodegradable conductors. In the case of integrating sensors with plant tissues, printed biosensors that incorporate organic electronic materials into highly biocompatible hydrogels formed through a freeze-thaw cycling approach will be discussed. These cryogel-based devices can be embedded into plant stems where they can monitor the contents of sap fluid over long periods of time with limited tissue damage.

Bio: Gregory Whiting is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Materials Science and Engineering Program at the University of Colorado Boulder, and is the Principal Investigator for the Boulder Experimental Electronics and Manufacturing (BEEM) Laboratory. His research is focused at the intersection of additive manufacturing, novel materials, and functional devices. The BEEM Lab uses printing as a method to fabricate unconventional electronic components and systems primarily for monitoring environmental systems to enable sustainable land management practices. Prior to joining the University of Colorado in 2017 Dr Whiting spent 10 years working in industrial research for companies including Xerox PARC, and Google[X]. He received a PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2007 and a BS from the University of California Berkeley in 2002.

Hosted by: Professor Colleen Josephson

In-Person Event:  E2-192

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