Aschaffenburg University chooses Stratophase.
Aschaffenburg has recognised the potential of the technology for widespread commercial applications, and its advantages over other technologies to provide cost-effective and practical detection of critical biochemical contaminants in food and beverage processing.
In particular, its unique design will enable a network of sensors to be built across a manufacturing platform for continuous multi-point testing.
Stratophase's patented technology detects toxins, viruses and bacteria in real time. Based on an optical silicon chip with an integral planar Bragg grating, it uses a fibre-optic cable to transmit a conditioned beam of light to the chip.
When target agents or contaminants are carried in liquid across the surface, tiny changes in sample composition can be detected by very precise and continuous monitoring of the wavelength of light reflected from the sensor. By pre-treating the surface to make it sensitive to certain biological or chemical reactions, it becomes a robust and sensitive biochemical detector.
Stratophase has already been successful with its technology in homeland security and its sensors are being developed in this area with key customers and through government contracts. The Aschaffenburg project will now examine for the first time the use of the same technology in other applications. It will investigate combining the technology with microfluidic structures to create a robust and cost-effective biochemical sensor for commercial use.
The project will probe the capabilities of the Stratophase sensor, treating the surface to explore its sensitivity to additional biological reactions, and evaluating its reaction to extended ranges of wavelengths of light.
Professor Dr Ralf Hellmann, head of the laboratories for laser technology, opto-electronics and sensors at the University of Applied Sciences at Aschaffenburg, believes there is considerable potential for Stratophase's technology in commercial applications. He said: "A key advantage of the technology is that it is a purely optical process which relies on changes in the refractive index on the surface of the sensor. This, therefore, eliminates the usual and costly complication with other technologies of preparing the liquid specimen with fluorescent tags. In addition, it has distinct advantages for commercial sensing over technologies such as SPR (surface plasmon resonance). For example, the silicon surface of the sensor gives access to a far broader range of binding reactions compared to the gold surface used in SPR. Moreover, its use of fibre optics would enable a network of sensors to be built across a production platform with a central point for the analysis of sample readings. With the combination of its high sensitivity, optical transducer and size, the Stratophase sensor has significant potential in applications beyond biotechnology."
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