UCC has begun the coordination of a EUR3m (GBP2.6m) 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 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.
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, which are prohibitively expensive to implement.
On the other hand, in the clinical diagnostic area there is an increasing demand for development of innovative low-cost anlaysis 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-ug/L range.
The total cost of the three-year project is estimated to be EUR3.4m, of which EUR3m is provided in grant funding from the EU Commission.
Instrumentation company Cellix is the other Irish partner involved in Hysens.
Together, Tyndall and Cellix will receive EUR920,000 from the EU for this project.
Cellix will play a key role in the development of low-cost electrolyte-analysis technologies that could, for example, be applied in emergency rooms to obtain fast indication for the diagnosis of specific diseases such as renal, endocrine, acid-base and water-balance disorders.