Research into changing the surface properties of metal-oxide semi-conductors (such as zinc oxide and tin oxide) has a myriad of real world applications.
Imagine medical doctors being able to plug an electronic blood tester into their smartphones to provide patients with an immediate blood test result. Or people being able to wear a cheap, UV sensor to accurately detect their UV exposure.
MacDiarmid Institute Principal Investigator Associate Professor Martin Allen, University of Canterbury, and his team have developed a cheap and robust way to get different organic molecules to attach to the surface of these semiconductors, which means that they’re bioactive and sensor ready.
Researchers have been testing the abilities of the prototype sensors. For example, the lightweight, wearable, electronic UV dosimeters for skin cancer prevention and vitamin D research are under trial at an Auckland school.
Working as a multidisciplinary team has really supercharged the development of this.Associate Professor Martin Allen MacDiarmid Institute Principal Investigator University of Canterbury