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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R006393/1
Title: Enhanced molybdenum cluster based materials for biomedical optical oxygen sensing.
Principal Investigator: Efremova, Dr O
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: University of Hull
Scheme: First Grant - Revised 2009
Starts: 01 January 2018 Ends: 31 December 2019 Value (£): 100,746
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Characterisation Materials Synthesis & Growth
Med.Instrument.Device& Equip.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
19 Jul 2017 EPSRC Physical Sciences - July 2017 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Oxygen concentration in biological tissue is a unique marker that can be used to establish or monitor pathological conditions of patients such as cancer or inflammation. Unlike pulse oximetry widely used in medical practice, oxygen sensors based on the quenching of luminescence by oxygen is a technique that can provide rapid indication of the local oxygen concentration with a resolution down to microscale region which is determined by the size of the optical fibre substrate used. This technique can provide immediate information on the concentration of oxygen within the small area of an organ or a tissue of critically ill patients (e.g. during an operation or during endoscopic examination of such organs as lungs, gastrointestinal tract, urinary system etc), which can be used to find out the exact location of a disease focus or else to monitor the healing process during treatment.

Optical oxygen sensors are quite common for general use (i.e. in non-biological conditions), while this technology is currently only being developed within UK and worldwide for biomedical use . There is a particular need for highly sensitive (to allow for miniaturisation) and biocompatible materials to make significant progress in the direction of sensors for biological conditions. The overall scientific goal of this project is thus to develop biocompatible and robust materials for use in oxygen sensing within biological media.

Recently the PI has developed a range of metal cluster complexes that demonstrate high potential for luminescence-based oxygen sensing applications. Specifically, the proof-of-concept studies demonstrate that, even without optimisation, materials based on these complexes have sensitivity to oxygen sensing comparable to the state-of -the art materials. Moreover, this compounds are based on cheap starting materials that do not show any significant toxicity and are highly photo-stable. As such, these moieties are far more advanced luminophores for biomedical oxygen sensing than any other materials that are currently under consideration in the research community (e.g. precious metal complexes, quantum dots, organic dyes).

To advance the state of the art in the area of biomedical oxygen sensing, this project (i) will use these recently developed metal cluster complexes as precursors to generate a library of biocompatible materials with high oxygen sensing capacity and (ii) will evaluate the potential of these new materials in medical oxygen sensing.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.hull.ac.uk