New printed low-cost device for UV-light monitoring

19 May, 2014 - 07:00

A new type of printed UV-light detector is now ready for market. The fully functional prototype will be demonstrated by Acreo Swedish ICT in Munchen and Melbourne at the end of May.

Too much ultraviolet (UV) exposure is the main cause of skin cancer. Only in United States over 1 Million people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year. Excessive UV-light can also alter immune system functions and develop cataract, a common eye disease. For people, exposed to strong sun light, the new printed UV-detector could be used as a band-aid, as a wristband or as a smart label in a sun hat.

Ultraviolet light is effective for water purification. In many developing countries the water supply is scarce and often polluted due to human activities and there is a great need to easily reduce hazardous bacteria from drinking water. Products, using UV-light for water purification, is already on the market and the new printed UV-detector could be integrated in these purification systems to monitor the UV-dose.

- We are now looking for commercial partners and we have started a dialogue with a water purification-company but we also hope to come in contact with Life Science and Medtech companies, producing devices for self-tracking and diagnostics, says Göran Gustafsson, VP and department manager, Printed Electronics at Acreo Swedish ICT

The innovation is a new type of ink that detect and measure UV-light directly on the printed sensor platform. The fully functional prototype is based on the integrated, printed sensor platform earlier developed by Acreo in cooperation with Linköping University and will be demonstrated at Lope-C in Munchen 27-28 May and Biosensors in Melbourne 27-30 May.

The technology behind

The UV-detector contains a printed area that is sensitive to UV light. The radiation is converted to an electronic signal which is proportional to UV light intensity. The result of the measurement is read directly on the display. It also gives the total dose of UV light exposure. In some applications the detector could also be combined with an alarm system when a maximum dose has been reached. To create the generic sensor platform Acreo uses electrically conductive materials ("inks") to print battery, sensor and displays which are integrated with a silicon chip. Depending on what should be detected by the sensor – glucose, bacteria, UV-radiation etc. - we use different types of “sensor inks.