Intelligent sensing and detection

Sensors are systems or materials that respond to a stimulus and transmit a resulting impulse, whereas detectors are systems or materials that can identify the stimulus that they receive.

In the IMC group, we specialize in two types of intelligent sensors and detectors described below.

1) Photonic materials that can sense and detect ultraviolet radiation and X-rays by changing color.

These are materials based on the natural hackmanite mineral that show reversible photochromism with color intensity that is proportional to the dose received. Our research on color-changing sensors and detectors is carried out in multidisciplinary collaboration with e.g. the groups of Prof. Petriina Paturi, Prof. Timo Saarinen, Dr. Pekka Laukkanen (University of Turku), Ass. Prof. Tangui Le Bahers (Lyon, France), Prof. Lucas Rodrigues (São Paulo, Brazil) and Dr. Ludo van Goethem (Geological Society of Antwerpen, Belgium).

Examples of a natural and synthetic samples of hackmanite (Na8Al6Si6O24(Cl,S)2) before and after UV exposure.
Left: Example of using our hackmanite material ((Na,K)8Al6Si6O24(Cl,S)2) to determine the amount of solar UV index by its color intensity. Right: Tuning the coloration threshold energy of hackmanites to enable the detection of UVA, UVB and UVC radiation selectively. Read the whole study here.
Example of using our hackmanite material ((Na,Rb)8Al6Si6O24(Cl,S)2) to determine X-ray dose by its color intensity. Read the whole study here.

2) Photonic materials that can be used as parts of biochemical analysis platforms.

These are materials that show luminescence, persistent luminescence or up-conversion luminescence, whose intensity is proportional to the concentration of the analyte. This research is carried out in collaboration within University of Turku with the groups of Dr. Harri Härmä and Prof. Tero Soukka.

Example of using our hackmanite material’s (LiNa7Al6Si6O24(Cl,S)2) photoluminescence and persistent luminescence to identify the expensive spice saffron from cheap turmeric and annatto. Read the whole study here.
Principle of using an upconverting luminescent nanomaterial (NaYF4:Yb,Er) optimized in our group for a quantitative multianalyte immunoassay. Read the whole study here.