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Scientists to develop disposable, mass-producible, nanophotonic sensor chips


A new European consortium, PHOTOSENS, is developing a polymer-based nanophotonic sensor chip to screen air quality, to aid pharmaceutical process cleanliness and for food safety applications.

The 3-year PHOTOSENS project aims for a disposable, mass-producible sensor chip for generic multi-parameter sensing applications. A key requirement is to perform screening tests without specialized infrastructure. By combining nanophotonics, tailored polymer materials and mass-manufacturability, the project is challenging conventional analytical techniques which usually require expensive equipment and personnel.

The PHOTOSENS consortium brings together world-leading institutes and multinational companies across Europe. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland leads the programme, with the core nanophotonic technology provided by the University of Southampton (UK), novel silicone-based materials by Momentive (Germany), chemical functionalization by TNO (the Netherlands) and the University of Vienna (Austria) and roll-to-roll mass-manufacturing technology provided by Nanocomp (Finland) and 3D AG (Switzerland). Philips (the Netherlands) and Renishaw Diagnostics (UK) provide the application knowledge and demonstration environment. VTT’s contribution is in transferring nanophotonic structures into polymer structures by the use of UV nanoimprinting as well as integration of the multi-parameter sensor. 

“Renishaw Diagnostics is expecting new materials and sensors developed in the project to revolutionize photonics sensing applications”, says David Eustace from Renishaw Diagnostics.

“The project will open up new opportunities for silicones and silanes in the photonic and optical market. The development of these markets has gained momentum”, says Jos Delis from Momentive.