Widespread distribution of electrochemical (bio)sensors is needed to solve pressing global challenges in different areas, particularly healthcare (by enabling wearable (bio)chemical sensors) and environmental protection (more efficient water contamination monitoring). Large-scale sensor development is currently hindered by a lack of high throughput, cost-effective fabrication of electrochemical sensing devices, but this can be solved by employing established technologies from printed electronics. Specifically, inkjet printing is a highly versatile, scalable and low-cost fabrication technology, which enables development of entire (bio)chemical sensors with less waste. In this project we will use inkjet printing to develop low-cost but robust electrochemical sensors on plastic substrates for the detection of important analytes in wearable sweat sensing (electrolytes) and environmental protection (drugs and pesticides). To advance this development, we will employ photonic sintering (Intense pulsed light, IPL), which is a well-known alternative sintering technology in printed electronics but has barely been used in electrochemical sensor development. For the first time, we will elucidate the substrate-dependent effect of IPL on nanoparticle morphological and electrical characteristics and consequently on the analytical performance of novel sensors.
Research during the project will be conducted “bottom-up”: from synthesis of conductive inks (based on metallic and carbon nanoparticles) to fabrication of complete electrochemical (bio)sensors (based on different transduction principles), and finally development of highly integrated 3D-printed Lab-on-a-Chip (LoC) devices with inkjet-printed electrochemical detection. The 5 scientific objectives of the project are:
O1. Conductive ink synthesis and characterisation
O2. Inkjet printing of new electrode materials
O3. Potentiometric sensor development
O4. Amperometric (bio)sensor development
O5. 3D printed LoC development