Enhancing graphene-based sensors with metal-organic nanosheets

Grantham Scholar Benedict Smith’s project looks at making graphene based sensors more selective.

The project

Making graphene-based sensors more selective for phosphate species by the addition of 2D met organic frameworks which functionalise the surface and have changeable affinity for a variety of analytes. This is applicable to farming, where the distribution and soil retention of fertilisers should be monitored to prevent overspreading (wasteful, costly, environmentally damaging). An electrochemical sensor is the target device to allow remote, sub-field measurement over a large area.


Scalable and sustainable manufacturing of ultrathin metal–organic framework nanosheets (MONs) for solar cell applications. David J. Ashworth, Justin Driver, Kezia Sasitharan, Ram R.R. Prasad, Joshua Nicks, Benedict J. Smith, Siddharth V. Patwardhan, Jonathan A. Foster. Chemical Engineering Journal, Volume 477, 2023, 146871. ISSN 1385-8947. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cej.2023.146871.

In 2023, Ben contributed to the Idea Catalogue – an interdisciplinary project by Transformation Labs that brought together more than 200 participants from across the world. Ben’s contribution was on entry point 3 – ‘Sustainable food systems and healthy nutrition’ (page 74).


The Grantham Centre at COP. Every year, we send Grantham Scholars to COP as official observers for the University of Sheffield. Doing so gives our people an opportunity to see how global climate change policy is made – or not – and to meet other sustainability experts. In 2022, Benedict was one of the group who went to Egypt for COP27.

Free sustainability webinars. Benedict was part of a group who organised the Rewilding: Plant it and They Will Come webinar. Created as part of our ongoing public engagement, it is on of a playlist of Grantham Scholar webinars available on YouTube.

Social media

You can find Benedict on Twitter.

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