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29th June 2018, Brighton

Funding for graphene sensors development

Advanced Material Development (AMD) has raised a total of £750,000 in funding, as the company launches its plan to exploit the commercial potential of applications for graphene and other 2D nanomaterials.

The company will contribute £600,000 to fund several distinct research projects conducted by the Materials Physics Group at the University of Sussex.

Among projects is the development of cheap, wearable medical sensors based on composites and emulsions of graphene. © Advanced Material Development

Among these projects is the development of cheap, wearable medical sensors based on composites and emulsions of graphene. It is envisaged that the devices will be comfortable, non-invasive and can provide intuitive diagnostics of infant breathing and heart rate.

The incorporation of nanomaterials such as graphene into elastomer composites results in significant enhancement of mechanical properties, electrical conductivity and electrical strain response. The formation of emulsions stabilised with graphene meanwhile provides a system with very high electrical sensitivity to small strains, but which is also conformable and very simply prepared due to the use of liquid processing.

Graphene emulsion systems exhibit very sensitive responses to small strain at high frequency, which make them suitable for detecting the infant pulse. By embedding these sensing elements into a wearable, elasticated device structure the researchers can produce stand-alone medical sensors. These devices, with embedded processing and a simple “traffic light” indicator, would need minimal training to use.

The idea has the potential to drastically improve early detection of life-threatening symptoms such as sleep apnoea or cardiac arrhythmia in infants living in remote areas, where constant monitoring with conventional equipment is challenging.

AMD was founded in 2017 after a board of experienced business professionals partnered with Alan Dalton, a professor of Experimental Physics and lead researcher in the Materials Physics Group. The business is hosted on campus by Sussex Innovation – the University’s business incubation network – with Professor Dalton acting as its Chief Scientific Advisor.

 “We’re delighted to be able to offer this financial boost to the Material Physics Group,” said John Lee, CEO of Advanced Material Development. “Alan is one of the most respected academics researching applied 2D nanomaterials in the world today, and we’re looking forward to sharing the products of his group’s research with the world. Already we have lined up an extensive list of well-known consumer brands and industrial partners who are eager to get involved with emerging nanomaterials technology.”

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