Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Energy Science and Engineering

Major Professor

Peter L. Fuhr

Committee Members

Lawrence M. Anovitz, Fangxing Li, Yilu Liu


Ubiquitous low-cost sensing remains fundamental to next generation energy, environmental, and industrial situational awareness. Intelligent decision systems of the future require a continuous feed of measurements from a diverse portfolio of sensors. Applications in a variety of areas will undoubtedly rely on different parameters to be measured, but can such sensors be printed? Can such sensors take interesting forms – including transparency? Sensors explored in this dissertation are fundamental to envisioned intelligent decision systems of the future.Flexible in both form and ease of deployment, unpowered printable sensors have the potential to change industry in a profound way. This dissertation will explore the design, production, and implications of these devices. Highly discriminative low-cost sensors are needed for remote and continuous monitoring of a variety of applications within the broad field of “energy”. Challenges remain for low-cost continuous monitoring of physical and chemical parameters for applications in electrical generation, transmission, and distribution. Associated equipment generates greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and often generalized air pollution (nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides or particulates). Taking a broader view of energy, there are leaks from hydraulic fracturing sites that should be measured and monitored for environmental considerations. Printable low-cost sensors could support portable systems for detection, quantification, and continuous monitoring. Current methods for detection and measurements of physical and chemical parameters fail to offer cost-effective remote or/and continuous monitoring of these parameters.The area of printed electronics – printed sensors – forms the core of this dissertation research topic, however, the implications of this research are far reaching. There are technological and fundamental science and engineering questions that need to be answered in order to determine if printed electronic sensors – including transparent sensors – are a viable candidate for use in the general area of energy science applications. The parameters of interest simply within “energy applications“ - or expanded to industrial settings - stretch from physical parameters (temperature, humidity, etc.) to environmental parameters (including the aforementioned chemicals) to electromagnetic parameters associated with the electric grid’s operation. The product of this dissertation is to determine if printed sensors – including transparent sensors – will provide continuous and ubiquitous sensing for energy applications.

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