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Optical-based transducers

The field of sensor technologies has been renewed with the application of nanotechnology principles. Innovative approaches are revolutionising the area and increasing the scope of sensitivity of sensor media.

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The EC-funded NANOPHOS project combined partner expertise in order to overcome deficiencies of currently available sensor products. The key aim was to design media that could react and produce an optical response based on synthetic photonic nanocomposites. This new class of purely optical chemical sensor devices would carry advanced characteristics and increased sensitivity. Within the scope of this project, partner Weizmann Institute of Science, based in Israel, focused on the potential of evaporated gold (Au) island films as transducers. The aim was to evaluate the use of advanced materials with unique property profiles in order to achieve the project goals. Gold island films have been used in a variety of sensor application studies and the aim within the NANOPHOS framework was to develop optimised transducers based on this technology. Using evaporation, ultra-thin films were prepared and studied using atomic force microscopy (AFM) and high-resolution scanning electron microscopy (HR-SEM). Further studies are warranted on the use of this technology as transducers for the sensor industry.

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