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Roll-to-Roll Nano Sensors Enhance Manufacturing Opportunities

Photonics Spectra
May 2014
ESPOO, Finland, Feb. 7, 2014 — Roll-to-roll mass manufacturing is a key technology in low-cost disposable photonic sensor production, which could pave the way for new business and job opportunities, particularly for small and medium enterprises.

Photosens, a European consortium project led by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, is developing a polymer-based nanophotonic sensor that can be mass produced for environmental applications, pharmaceutical process cleanliness and food safety applications.

“The Photosens project has developed a novel and highly cost-effective manufacturing method for periodic nanostructures, which form the basis of most SERS [surface-enhanced Raman scattering] substrates,” said David Eustace of Renishaw Diagnostics in Scotland, a member of the consortium. He added that these developments “open up a new range of applications for this highly sensitive and selective analytical technique.”

Currently, utilization of multiparameter sensing is hindered by the lack of low-cost and highly reproducible fabrication methods for nanostructured surfaces. Photosens’ development of roll-to-roll nanoimprinting manufacturing addresses these challenges.

“It was a challenge and very interesting to see that molecularly imprinted polymers can, in principle, be implemented into mass-manufactured sensor systems,” said Peter Lieberzeit of the University of Vienna, a member of the consortium. “Photosens has played a seminal role in bringing such systems forward on their way from academia to application.”

A multiparameter sensor array uses photonic crystal (PC) and SERS methodologies. Integrating the PC- and SERS-based sensors with integrated optics-coupling structures within a single sensor platform allows the implementation of a high-performance multiparameter sensor.

“The combination of smart sensing layers and the nanophotonic sensing principle performed in mass-manufacturable plastic chips opens the possibility for [applications such as] inexpensive disposable gas sensing elements,” said Arjen Boersma of Netherlands-based TNO, a member of the consortium.

Additional project partners include the University of Southampton in England, Momentive in Germany, Nanocomp in Finland, 3-D AG of Switzerland, and Philips in the Netherlands.

For more information, visit: www.photosens.eu


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