Partner: CSEM
Advanced technology: Advanced nanotechnology for chemical sensing
Contact: Guy Voirin
Tel: +41 032 720 5152

Advanced nanotechnology for chemical sensing

From nanotechnology to sensing applications
From nanotechnology to devices

WHAT IS our technology

The miniaturization of sensors together with the dramatic increase in portable computational power is currently generating a whole range of new applications for chemical sensors. These sensors can be used for applications related to the environmental monitoring, health, aeronautics, or even food safety just to name a few. In order to be used with portable devices, sensitive materials must be small, cost effective, and reliable. Sensors based on luminescence change in presence with a specific molecule are promising candidates for this type of applications as they can be interrogated by standalone compact optical readers with wireless communication capabilities. CSEM has developed new optical sensitive patches based on a sol-gel nanoporous layer. These luminescent films are adapted for O2, CO2, and pH detection.

Nanotechnology based sensitive layers:

To overcome the disadvantages of optical sensors based either on microporous or meso- and macroporous sensitive layers embedding photosensitive dyes, new functionalized thin films deposited on various substrates such as steel, glass, and flexible plastic sheets have been developed. The host film is made of a double matrix: a microporous sol-gel network encapsulating the active species, which is embedded in a mesoporous coating. This hierarchical nanostructure brings to the sensitive layers enhanced performances, such as higher optical signal, sensitivity, robustness, mechanical resistance, transparency, selectivity, and a faster response.

Other nanoparticles based layer can be deposited on MEMS structure to build sensors (electrical, electrochemical) using the nanoporous layer as catalyst for sensitive material.


Miniaturization of sensor for different connected application

  • Oxygen sensing: pressure sensitive paint
  • Oxygen sensing in cell culture, air, water
  • VOC for buildings, cars
  • Carbone dioxide in buildings, food packaging, food preservation,…
  • Carbone dioxide, oxygen, pH for water quality (river, swimming pool,…)

What’s new?

  • Deposition of the sensitive layer on fragile membranes
  • Deposition with high resolution (50 microns)
  • Deposition on structured substrates


Adaptation of the sensitive layer to new chemicals.


Several publications and references in international journals and conferences.


Contact: Guy Voirin
Tel: +41 032 720 5152