Exploiting graphene's properties for sensing and monitoring applications

Lead Participant: Prognomics Ltd


"Exceptional electronic properties, surface sensitivity and selectivity, makes graphene an ideal candidate for a wide number of potential applications. However, in order to exploit these properties and enable such applications, substantial industrial research is necessary to overcome considerable material and process challenges that prevent graphene technology to move from the laboratory to large-scale manufacturing.

Our Industrial Research project will explore novel graphene surface chemical modification processes, transfer methods and integration processes to be transferred and tested at the industrial level, enabling entirely new applications for in-line monitoring of allergens in food manufacturing, and Point-of-Care (POC) critical health diagnostics. The extraordinary surface sensitivity of graphene, coupled with the correct technology to modify its surface, makes it an ideal material for sensing applications.

Performance evaluation of our optimised processes will be conducted through metrology on advanced sensing test structure, for the detection of i) milk allergens in food products and ii) Myocardial Infarction (heart attack) and the rapid detection of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD\*) biomarkers.

The needs for tackling these two exemplary applications stems from:

- the prevalence of food allergies (increasing globally and prompting food producers to pay increased attention to monitoring of the food processing plant): where there is a possibility of cross-contamination, food producers are obliged to label products and recall incorrectly-labelled products and ""faulty"" batches-- costing industry millions and producing negative publicity;

- The incidence (and mortality) associated with heart attack and the global increase in the burden of National Health Services and global population caused by CVD\* - a rapid response in ruling out a potential heart attack and, if detected, understanding the disease progression in quasi real-time, will provide a powerful POC tool to clinicians, hospitals, and emergency units, help saving lives and lower costs.

The development of our graphene-based technology will allow to ultimately enable fabrication of real-time sensing devices, developed for _in-situ_ monitoring of food & food processing units and POC critical health diagnostics, would enable instant and low-cost monitoring.

The availability of quality control measures to be integrated with Aixtron's growth equipment will enable a pathway to rapid transition of graphene technology from research lab to factory. The availability of integrated graphene-based sensors for in-situ monitoring would offer end-user Unilever a real breakthrough in monitoring for milk allergen contaminants and explore new medical technology applications."

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Prognomics Ltd, SWANSEA £477,513 £ 315,359


Semefab Limited, Glenrothes £221,278 £ 115,227
Unilever U.K. Central Resources Limited, Bedford £44,183
University of Cambridge, United Kingdom £140,585 £ 140,585
Npl Management Limited, TEDDINGTON £169,832 £ 169,832


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