Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Catalytically-assisted high efficiency and low-cost nanostructured sensors based on modified screen printed electrodes for analytical chemistry

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
2.09.01  Engineering sciences and technologies  Electronic components and technologies  Materials for electronic components 

Code Science Field
P300  Natural sciences and mathematics  Analytical chemistry 

Code Science Field
2.05  Engineering and Technology  Materials engineering 
electrochemical sensors, electro catalysis, nanostructured materials, formaldehyde, printed electrodes, sensor systems, electronic components
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (11)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  39463  PhD Igor Karlovits  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2017 - 2020  224 
2.  31400  PhD Urška Kavčič  Communications technology  Researcher  2017 - 2020  115 
3.  35589  PhD Nina Kostevšek  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2017 - 2018  116 
4.  22280  PhD Aljoša Košak  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2017 - 2020  208 
5.  01407  PhD Aleksandra Lobnik  Textile and leather  Researcher  2017 - 2020  738 
6.  32964  PhD Polonca Nedeljko  Chemistry  Researcher  2017 - 2020  36 
7.  53417  Tina Radošević    Technical associate  2019 - 2020  80 
8.  19030  PhD Sašo Šturm  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2017 - 2020  661 
9.  38204  PhD Špela Trafela  Materials science and technology  Junior researcher  2017 - 2020  74 
10.  22423  PhD Matejka Turel  Chemistry  Researcher  2017 - 2019  121 
11.  18824  PhD Kristina Žužek  Materials science and technology  Head  2017 - 2020  365 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  91,921 
2.  0219  Pulp and Paper Institute  Ljubljana  5051681  1,725 
3.  2772  IOS, Institute for Environmental Protection and Sensors  Maribor  2251914000  1,920 
We propose the development of portable electrochemical sensors for fast “terrain” analysis (technology readiness level -TRL 4-5) for sensing of the organic species (using formaldehyde as the case study) in liquid environments, based on modified printed electrodes using 1-D nanostructured materials (nanowires (NWs) and nanotubes (NTs) based on cheap transition metals (Ni, Co) and their alloys (Ni-Co), which are later incorporated into an autonomic calibrated and validated sensor platform with a WI-FI connection.   Formaldehyde (HCHO) is a very important compound in the fuel cell industry, and it is also one of the initial products of the oxidation of methanol. Despite many of these advantages, it also has a detrimental impact on human health. Up to date analytical methods for detecting the formaldehyde rely on expensive laboratory “ex-situ” instrumental chromatographic and spectroscopic methods, where the time from acquisition and sample analysis result is measured in hours.   Our proposed sensing platform represents a cheap and efficient alternative for already existing lab scale analysis as offer a simple and inexpensive “terrain” in-situ method of analysis in much shorter time frames.   Tackling low-cost metals Ni/Co and their redox couple on the nanoscale (nanowires and nanotubes) using electrodeposition enables us to exploit the singular aspects of the 1-D electronic states giving rise to the sensor analytically performances according to reaction:   NiO(OH)/CoO(OH) + HCHO® oksidiran HCHO + Ni(OH)2/Co(OH)2   which is used for the first time towards a fully functional highly catalytic  (limit of detection LOD ( 0.5 mm) and selective HCHO sensor platform (with WiFi connection) calibrated and validated for operation in required analytical environments (TRL 4-5).   Two research organizations (Jozef Stefan Institute (JSI), and Pulp and paper institute (ICP) and a prosperous SME (Institute for Environmental protection and Sensors (IOS)) contribute to the overall project exploiting their individual expertise both in excellence and in exploitation to reach the targeted TRL of 4-5. 1-D nanostructures synthesis either in nanowire or in a nanotube form is done on JSI with electrodeposition supported via state the art liquid TEM analysis. Electrodepositon is later on used for modification of the screen printed electrodes (JSI+ICP) that are incorporated into an autonomic sensor platform (ICP). Such printed electrodes are the ideal basis for the preparation of a printed electronic standalone sensor, which enables data transmission over wireless Wi-Fi connection (ICP). Before the sensing platform is fully operational in the required environment it needs to undergo accredited calibration and validation procedure which is performed at IOS, with a long term experience in this field.   Proposed high level of interdisciplinary scientific and technical expertise of the project team offers unique opportunities to develop a full corpus of knowledge regarding opportunities both in scientific excellence and exploitation, including the adequate, proposed advanced nanotechnologies that are key to solve the burning analytical issues. With this the project is in line with Slovenian Smart Specialization Strategy (S4) in materials as end products, smart cities and communities, factories of the future as will provide the matrix for new excellence science impacting environmental and public health survey and protection. It impacts the Slovenian economy directly by birding the TRL levels proposing to cover the missing the intermediate TRL levels (4-5) via developing advanced products and do business on the European market and wider.
Significance for science
Our ambition is to push the limits of knowledge in nanomaterials for sensing applications taking the advantages of their nanoscale induced physical and chemical properties. Based on new innovative structures a new niche field in nanotechnology will appear and as such stimulate cutting edge research. This will attract more and more scientists especially from the emerging generations to enter this breakthrough field, which will give the Slovenian science an advantageous position. We aim to bring the research excellence in fields of chemistry, chemical engineering, material and computer sciences implemented for novel sensing technologies in Slovenia to a higher level as Slovenia is currently ranked 17th among the EU countries. Project aims to promote the collaboration between physics, chemistry, electrical engineering and environmental science by creating interdisciplinary collaborations where scientist from the above fields will work together under the umbrella of sensors for applications in industry, environment and health. The project aims to increase the number of future ERC grants, starting with the selecting the most creative PhD students giving them extra guidance and support from experienced top class senior researchers in the proposed science fields with an entrepreneur twist. The benefits are mutual as the success of the future ERC awardees will reflect on the senior researchers ranking them higher on the excellence scale opening opportunities future EU funding schemes. The science and technology mastered within this project will be actively disseminated and licensed to relevant key players in the nanotechnology field, dealing with high-added value nanomaterials for sensing, further increasing the Slovenian position through the adaptation of new concepts and processes. Members of the project consortium will benefit from the opportunity of participating in an interdisciplinary project focused on materials meeting the sensors field, with tremendous impact that will be publishable in highest ranking journals from the field of materials and their applications in sensing devices (Nature materials, Advanced materials, Advanced Functional Materials, Nanotoday…) The results achieved during the project will improve the scientific excellence of the groups and their visibility at the European and worldwide levels, supporting the presentation of the results in all project related fields through participation in advanced research workshops, conferences and exhibitions. While the proposed project is primarily oriented towards the areas related to the specific analytical chemistry sensing devices, the included research subjects will bring new knowledge to the field of materials chemistry and to novel advances in the field of chemical and biochemical sensing as well as catalysis for water spitting which is at the moment one of the hottest topic in the energy segment.
Significance for the country
In 2010 the European Commission (EC) published a milestone report on Critical Raw Materials (CRM) for the EU in response to the awareness of global warming and air pollution and connected sustainable technologies. Platinum group based metals are considered to be the problematic as it is anticipated that the platinum group based metals supply will soon not equilibrate the needs of the global economy. Therefore developing materials that outperform the noble metals in electrocatalysis which are also cheaper which is the main objective of our proposal, finds a general scientific and wider industry interest.   Addressed catalytically–assisted sensing technology developed within this project represent a novel technology, which is SME orientated and easily scalable thereby opening the routes in different branches of analytical chemistry including catalysis of methanol oxidation to analysis of the HCHO as pollutant in the human environments. In paper industry which is large in Slovenia, formaldehyde is one of the restricted chemicals. The origin of formaldehyde in final product is driven from different additives or raw materials. Simple, quick and economically friendly method for detection of formaldehyde in paper production process is an important novelty for paper mills and the results of this project can be used for more precise determination of formaldehyde in process. Accomplishing the above, this project is in line with the Slovenian Smart Specialization Strategy-SPS (S4) in several respects: materials as end-products and in smart cities and communities and wider in sustainable tourism towards circular economy.   Analysis of Slovenias market show that the gap exists between basic research, deployed within the national institutions (TRL=2) and the global industry partners (TRL=7) as only 4 SMEs in Slovenia explicitly claim sensor development, yet focusing essentially on home automation. This gap we are bridging in this proposal with attraction of a propulsive SME IOS into the consortium. As such this project team clearly shows the capability and capacity to develop advanced products and do business on the European market targeting the range 3 ? TRL ? 5. The project will also have a big impact on Slovenia’s culture, as the project will be an intertwined junction of interdisciplinary knowledge and the local and regional environment will benefit from elevated scientific expectations and challenges, and a more entrepreneurial mind-set through exposure to IOS and its network of contacts and collaborators. Modified screen printed nanostructured sensors tested primary for formaldehyde can be expanded for different analyte detection and therefore represent an economical solution for wide array of applications in medicine, environment in preserving cultural heritage (sensing agenesis that influence the aging of the cultural heritage and positively impacting their conservations and restoration).
Most important scientific results Interim report, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Interim report, final report
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