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Mechanics gets sensitive

"This type of sensor is ideal for picking up small changes in pressure and velocity of the gases flowing in a working turbine, which provides crucial information for the designers. We are working on these in conjunction with researchers from the Aeronautics' laboratory; Drs Holger Babinsky and Howard Hodson." explains Mark Welland. "Ultimately smart sensors based on this technology will be built in to all sorts of things. They can be used to monitor the correct amount of detergent to be put in to a washing machine or the emissions given off from food in a refrigerator which will signal when it should be used. Alternatively, a smart sensor incorporated into a computer could monitor the breath of the operator for tell tale signs of say, when a diabetes sufferer should take an insulin dose."

The latest breakthrough has been the development of this type of sensor to work in a liquid environment, opening up new application areas, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry. For instance, the accurate detection of particular protein types can be used for monitoring harmful cholesterol levels, pregnancy testing or the levels of oestrogen in drinking water.

This work is being carried out in conjunction with the Department of Chemistry, and pharmaceutical applications are being developed with funding from AEA Technology.

For further information, please contact Professor Mark Welland - or visit the Nanoscale Science Laboratory web site.