The development of next-generation sensors used to save patients’ lives – and transform a range of industrial processes – will be the focus of a University of the West Scotland (UWS) study.

The research project, which will look at creating hyper-efficient wireless, non-toxic ultrasonic sensors – used in devices such as cardiac implants, biomedical imaging, and proximity antennas on military vehicles – was recently awarded £20,000 by The Royal Society.

Many existing sensors, although safe and effective, use lead in the production process. The UWS project will specifically look at piezoelectric metal oxides – materials that produce energy when put under stress – as a replacement, not only making the devices more efficient but also safer for use in applications such as medical implants.

Professor Milan Radosavljevic, Vice-Principal of Research, Innovation and Engagement at UWS, said: “Ultrasonic devices have already demonstrated great potential for wireless energy transfer and are being widely applied in health monitoring, health care, wider industrial applications and defence.

“The funding received for this project places UWS in a prime position to significantly impact on the international research community. It is an exciting example of the innovative research underway at the University and highlights our commitment to impactful research that is directly aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”

The one-year project is being led by Dr Carlos Garcia Nuñez from the School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences at UWS.

Dr Nuñez said: “I’m delighted to receive funding for this project which has the potential to significantly impact on the manufacturing of photonics, and optoelectronics, through a new concept known as piezo-phototronic effect.

“Due to the growing environmental concerns of toxicity in lead-containing devices, there is a growing demand for developing lead-free materials. Using earth-abundant alternative materials is not only highly effective and safer, but it also provides a low-cost option.”

The Royal Society provides a range of grant schemes to support the UK scientific community and foster collaboration between UK based and overseas scientists. Through its Research Fellowships and funding programmes, the Society works in partnership with universities and industry to support excellent scientists.

Main photo: Dr Carlos Garcia Nunez from University of the West Scotland
Photo Credit: UWS

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