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Home > Press > New Smart Materials Pave the Way to High Detection Nanosensors

Abstract:
Tyndall National Institute, UCC has began the coordination of a €3M EU project for the development of novel smart sensing materials for applications in water purification technology and clinical diagnostics. The nine partners involved in the EU "HYSENS" (Hybrid Molecule/Nanocrystal Assemblies for Photonic and Electronic Sensing Applications) project will work on the fabrication of innovative materials that will detect the concentration of ions such as sodium, potassium and calcium, in water and body fluids in a faster, cheaper and more effective way than the current commercial technologies. .."The increasing shortage of water supply (seven European countries constituting 35% European population are a risk of water shortfall) has lead to the implementation of recycling plants for both potable water and technological applications, thus increasing the demand for low cost and fast contaminant detection technologies," explains Tyndall researcher and project coordinator, Dr Daniela Iacopino.

New Smart Materials Pave the Way to High Detection Nanosensors

Ireland | Posted on April 10th, 2011

"For example, ultrapure water is an essential reagent for the manufacture of semiconductor, pharmaceutical and power plant industries. Existing and future industries are required to detect contaminant levels down to ng/L concentration limits. These limits can today only be met with the incorporation of water analysis systems at the moment prohibitively expensive to implement. On the other hand in the clinical diagnostic area there is an increasing demand for development of innovative low cost analysis technologies that could be applied for example in emergency rooms to obtain fast indication for the diagnosis of specific diseases. Ion tests are routinely performed with techniques whose concentration detection limits are in the mg-mg/L range.

"Although these limits meet the specifications required, more accurate, selective and sensitive methods would revolutionise the field of diagnostics for early detection and management of renal, endocrine, acid-base, water balance disorders, and many other conditions," says Dr Iacopina

"We are very excited to lead this research project which brings together world class interdisciplinary research groups from six European countries. The novel materials fabricated within HYSENS will offer significant advantages over conventional technologies in terms of analysis time, cost and quality. For example the actual cost per analysis of ions in body fluids is today estimated to be in the range €1.7 - €27.5. Since the materials proposed by HYSENS are based on low cost starting materials and fabrication routes, we are estimating to bring the cost per analysis down to €0.05 - €1." Commented Dr Iacopino.

The total cost of the 3-year project is estimated at €3.4 million of which €3m is provided in grant funding from the EU Commission. Cellix ltd,a leading instrumentation company, is the other Irish partner involved in HYSENS. Together Tyndall and Cellix will receive €920,000 from EU for this project.

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About Tyndall National Institute
Tyndall National Institute is one of Europe's leading research centres, specialising in ICT hardware research, commercialisation of technology and the education of next generation researchers. Tyndall has a critical mass of over 420 researchers, engineers, students and support staff focused on quality research and the commercialisation of technology through industry collaboration, IP licensing and spinout generation. Tyndall’s research addresses key challenges in the areas of Communications, Energy, Health and the Environment through its technologies which span the range “from atoms to systems” in the areas of photonics, microsystems and micro-nanoelectronics, backed by strong expertise in theory, modelling and design and a highly flexible wafer fabrication capability in Si CMOS, III-V’s and MEMS. Many of Tyndall’s MSc and PhD graduates go on to pursue careers in industry and are respected for the quality of their research and development outputs. Tyndall is supported by funding from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Science Foundation Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the Higher Education Authority.

About Cellix Ltd
Founded in 2004, CELLIX is an instrumentation company providing microfluidic technology based solutions in the areas of drug discovery, diagnostics and medical research. CELLIX’s headquarters are in Dublin, Ireland where it has a wet-lab facility and a separate manufacturing facility.

About University of Basel
The University of Basel is a full University with a strong focus in the molecular and life sciences. In particular, Basel hosts the Swiss Nanoscience Institute (SNI) and is the leading house in a Swiss wide network on Nanoscience..

About University of Bologna
The University of Bologna (UNIBO) was founded in 1088 and is the oldest university of the western world. Its central research office provides excellent logistic, financial and legal support to the management of projects of different size and nature.

About University of Birmingham
The School of Chemistry at the University of Birmingham has three research themes that form the core of its research. Materials chemistry is one of these, and as such has much expertise and synthetic know-how, as well a suite of materials chemistry analysis equipment to achieve rapid turnaround in terms of designing and synthesising new materials.

About University of Valencia
The Instituto de Ciencia Molecular (IcMol) is based at the Valencia University Campus in Valencia. It is funded in 2001 by national and European programs and recognized internationally as one of the pioneering centres of functional molecular materials. The institute is developing new research lines focused on molecular magnets, molecular optoelectronic devices, molecular machines and supra- and supermolecular structures with long-lived electron transfer processes.

About University of Munich
The University of Munich is one of the major universities of Germany. The Walter Schottky Institut is part of University of Munich. The institute is a world-renowned institute for the growth of semiconductor materials and associated nanostructures.

About SCRIBA Nanotecnologie Ltd
SCRIBA Nanotecnologie is an Italian spin-off company founded in 2005. The business mission of SCRIBA is the development of nanotech-based solutions for the packaging sector. In particular the development of products for the identification, anti-counterfeiting, security and health based on nano-technological processes, multifunctional materials and devices.

About MILDENDO
MILDENDO is one of the pioneering companies in the field of foundry services for polymer-based microfluidic devices. Founded in 2000 and incorporated as a 100% daughter company of microfluidic ChipShop GmbH in 2003, MILDENDO is strongly committed to the development, manufacturing, application and improvement of microfluidic systems in polymers for applications like diagnostics, microreaction technology and biotechnology

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