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Sensor Setups

Pia Sjöberg , D.Sc (Tech.), Senior Researcher

Research area

Chemical sensing involves both molecular recognition and subsequent signal transduction as can be seen in Figure 1.
Figure 1. The basic working principle of a chemical sensor.

The development of new chemical sensors and sensing setups is, hence, closely related to the development of new functional materials for both molecular recognition and subsequent signal transduction.

The current developments in process, environmental and clinical analysis has led to a need for maintenance-free, robust and reliable sensors for different ions and molecules. The need for on-site analysis of environmental samples, point-of-care analysis of clinical samples and the continuous development of other diagnostics and health-care applications, calls for sensors that are easy to handle and can be used in small portable units.

Miniaturization and mass-production of reliable sensors with suitable price range is also of great importance. Miniaturization of sensors can be realized, for example, by making all-solid-state sensors, without any liquid components within the sensor structure. In this approach, the use of different conducting polymers, as shown in Figure 2, both in the sensing and in the transducing parts, has been thoroughly studied.
Figure 2. Examples of electrically conducting polymers.

Another alternative is to manufacture sensors by using printing technologies. This opens up new avenues for mass-producible, low cost sensor setups that can be used in the framework of printed electronics. As with other, more conventional sensor constructions, a careful characterization and optimization of the key features of the printed sensors is of utmost importance.
Figure 3. Electrochemical characterization of a sensor setup.


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