Objectives and content
Whilst there are a number of sensor technologies that are suitable for the detection of inorganic chemicals such as metal ions, anions and inorganic gases, there is a need for specific sensors capable of measuring the wide range of organic molecules and biomolecules that are important in industrial. environmental and health surveillance monitoring. Bio-sensing techniques, in particular those based on antibodies, have shown some promise, but in general suffer from poor stability and high production costs.
In the bulk phase it has been shown that Molecularly Imprinted Materials (MIMs) recognize and bind their target molecule with high affinity and high specificity. They also show significantly higher chemical and thermal stability than comparable bio-sensing species. and can he prepared at low cost. In principle, therefore, they are well-suited for use in a sensor.
The purpose of this proposal is thus to develop an innovative chemical sensor technology based on novel MIMs for the real-time measurement of specific target organic chemicals and biomolecules, such as drugs, toxins, pollutants and food constituents. To achieve this end, the proposed work will include:
- the synthesis of MIMs for selected representative target molecules, - the development of methods for producing thin films of MIMs as sensor coatings,
- the determination of the optimum transducer configuration(s) for the MIM-based sensors (acoustic, field effect and optical technologies will be assessed),
- the design and development of the sensor electronics and software (using a 'smart sensor' approach),
- the evaluation of the performance of the optimum MIM sensor design(s) in terms of sensitivity and selectivity.
The main expected achievements are:
- successful synthesis of thin films of MIMs showing selectivity and affinity for the selected target compounds (order of magnitude similar to that of corresponding antibodies);
- the realisation of a prototype sensor for pesticides or herbicides, working either in the gas phase or in the liquid phase, having a sensitivity better than 1ppm (gas phase) or 0,1 g.l(-1) (liquid phase), a response time lower than 1 mn, a long term stability of more than 6 months;
- the realisation of a prototype sensing system with complete operation environment and fully integrated signal processing and communication capabilities, based on the above specified sensor.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
06610 La Gaude
221 00 Lund
NN12 8EQ Towcester
2600 GA Delft