The screen-printing machine (DEK 248) in this lab is used to screen-print sensors and biosensors using water-based inks. Here they prepare carbon electrodes for use in electrochemical analysis and biosensors production. The whole process of printing and drying is carried out in this lab.
The development of electrochemical sensors and biosensors based on screen-printed carbon electrodes. These are applied to the measurement of: glucose, lactate, cholesterol, steroid hormones, toxins in food, drugs of abuse, metals, gases and more.
Recent projects include the development of an electrochemical biosensor array, based on screen-printing technology for the automated detection of mycotoxins in raw food; and the development of electrochemical screen-printed biosensors for the measurement of glucose, cholesterol and lactate in biological fluids, funded by DEFRA LINK and EPSRC CASE award grants respectively. They have managed to cut out manufacturing steps by incorporating the enzymes directly into water-based carbon ink used for screen-printing the biosensors. This means that fabrication is done in one step instead of multiple steps.
Other projects include the development of gas sensors and biosensors for the detection of selected volatile compounds in breath. Two projects have recently been funded by the Faculty (a PhD bursary) and another through a Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) (for a research fellow) towards the replacement of animal testing using sensors/biosensors. The projects will involve the integration of screen-printed devices with spheroids contained in small wells; the behaviour of the system when challenged with selected toxic substances will be investigated. This system would have applications for e.g. the pharmaceutical industry, chemical industry and for environmental studies.