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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/H52573/01
Principal Investigator: Slater, Dr J
Other Investigators:
Williams, Professor D
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Biological and Chemical Sciences
Organisation: Birkbeck College
Scheme: LINK
Starts: 01 September 1992 Ends: 30 September 1995 Value (£): 88,981
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Design & Testing Technology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Support is requested under the DTI Link Molecular Sensors Programme in order to translate a new technological development in gold microwire production into a method of producing microelectrodes which would serve as practical analytical tools. These would have widespread applications in such areas as in medicine, environmental monitoring and laboratory analytical instrumentation. Microelectrodes exhibit a number of physical and electrochemical properties that offer advantages over their macroscopic counterparts for analytical measurements. Their characteristics allow them to be used in a number of unique situations to perform otherwise inaccessible analysis. They also offer the possibility of what are, in principle, calibration free assays since, in the limit, the response is determined solely by the electrode geometry. Problems of fabrication have prevented the widespread application of microelectrodes. Methods of manufacture have improved considerably over the last 10 years, but they are still, in general, hand-made one at a time by skilled researchers. There is a pressing need for novel approaches that will allow identical microelectrodes, either singly or in arrays, to be manufactured quickly, easily, and at low cost. Chemring is a British SME which has developed a microwire fabrication method which offers the potential for a spectacular breakthrough in the field. The original requirement for the wire is derived from the defence industry where copper wire is used. Current technology allows the larger scale fabrication of copper microwires. Pilot runs of glass encapsulated gold wire have been successful. Typical nominal diameters of microwire are in the range 3 - 20mm with tolerances of about 0.5mm being maintained along their length. The applicants wish to explore the possibilities offered by this new development of the production of electrode systems for environmental, laboratory instrumentation and medical applications where small, low cost, and disposable sensors are required. This proposal describes a 3 year programme of work which is shared by Chemring and Birkbeck College and University Colleges with the two colleges collaborating on the work programme for two research assistants.
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Organisation Website: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/