NEW HIGH TECNOLOGY! Kalle Heiska science journalist
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New technology for the identification of biomolecules and more
Multi-purpose sensors into mass production with VTT's printing technique

Jouko Haapalahti, chair of the Finnish diagnostics cluster expects the new biosensor and the accompanying information transfer development work to serve as an incentive for the establishment of 5 to 10 new companies.
High resolution image
Photo: Orion-yhtymä Oyj Orion Diagnostica

VTT is creating disposable, inexpensive multi-purpose sensors. The sensor is based on a selective biomolecule which reacts sensitively and specifically to hormones, microbes, toxins and more. VTT has done a lot of networking with other research institutes and universities. The development work is expected to lead to the establishment of several new hi-tech companies.

A vast field of applications is envisaged in the food safety and packaging, process industries, in health care and in environmental analysis for these inexpensive sensors. The sensor will be developed for mass production using advanced printing technique. A measurable change on the sensor can be detected optically or electronically. Printing technique will be used also to fabricate the optical and electrical parts of the sensor.

First model is sensor for analysis of impaired heart function. Sensors will be manufactured with the new printing technique for the measurement of heart related markers. These markers include hormones which react very rapidly to the changes in the heart muscle.

Jouko Haapalahti, chair of the Finnish diagnostics cluster and head of development at Orion Diagnostica says that in health care products biomolecular recognition is demanding. "The challenge is to improve signal transfer during recognition, and to find suitable conditions for heat labile biomaterials. The Oulu area boasts globally strong interdisciplinary biotechnical and optoelectronic expertise. The promises of today indicate that we may see new companies emerging and perhaps even hundreds of new jobs in the long-term. In my opinion there are great possibilities in Finland for the joint use of biotechnical and wireless information technology", says Haapalahti.

Risk investors see the field of printable micro- and nanotechnology promising. "Investors are prepared to take risks in order to promote the early stages of the technology. Understanding the development prospects is an incentive for capital to turn micro profit into mega success stories", says Sean Murphy, semi-conductor expert at the British Nomural international investment company. He was making an appearance at a seminar on future products of micro and nanotechnology at VTT Oulu on 15 October 2003.

The clean room of an experimental production unit at VTT Oulu, utilising the new roll-to-roll printing technique in printing optics and electronics. The width of the reel is 20 cm, speed up to 100 metres per minute.
High resolution image
Photo: Tarja Luukko

More information:

Harri Kopola
Photo: Reijo Koirikivi
VTT Electronics
Harri Kopola, Research Professor
tel. +358 40 557 4867
Orion Corporation Orion Diagnostica
Jouko Haapalahti, Assistant Vice President, R&D
tel. +358 50 429 5679

Feel free to use all news. Photographs copyright Kalle Heiska.
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