Advanced materials for sensor design

Sensors have a fundamental role to play in many aspects of modern life. This encompasses applications as diverse as household safety, fire detection, healthcare monitoring, process management, security and quality control.

The biggest challenges in the field relate to improving the sensitivity and selectivity of sensor devices. This is critical in areas such as medical diagnostics where the consequences of failure may be particularly severe. It is difficult to think of anything that could be called an ‘advanced material’ that has not found some application, experimental or commercial, in sensor design. This includes, but is by no means limited to, things such as: nanoparticles, fullerenes, and carbon nanotubes, organic conductors, light emitting polymers, shape memory alloys and polymers, photonic crystals, zeolites and silsesquioxanes.

This is an exciting time in the field, and an excellent time to foster greater inter-disciplinary interactions between materials scientists, polymer chemists and sensor engineers.

Advanced Materials for Sensor Design took place at Dublin City University in Ireland on 17 September 2009.

Russell Binions

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