Optical sensor spin-out makes progress - Embedded.com

Optical sensor spin-out makes progress

LONDON — A spin-out from Southampton University that has developed optical microchip sensor technology has raised £2million in the last 12 months from contracts and international private investment.

Stratophase Ltd (Romsey, England) has developed a biochemical measurement and detection technology has been used in multiple collaborative projects, endorsing the optical sensor technology’s sound scientific basis and commercial potential.

By 2012 the market for chemical sensors is forecast to be worth $5 billion in the U.S. according to a report from the Freedonia Research Group report (Chemical Sensors to 2012). The biosensor sector continues to be the largest while emerging technologies such as optical sensors are forecast to show the fastest growth.

Technical advances that enable miniaturization and increase cost efficiency, such as the ones being made by Stratophase, will drive market penetration by making high precision measurements more accessible to users.

The Stratophase technology, SpectroSens, is a patented biochemical sensor which uses optical microchips. The sensors are capable of detecting all classes of biological targets including proteins, toxins, viruses and bacteria, as well as measuring changes in the chemical composition of liquids.

In June 2008 Stratophase received £800k from East Hill Management, a Boston-based venture capitalist. Combined with UK government grants and other contracts, the total amount the company has secured over the year for the further demonstration and commercialisation of the SpectroSens technology exceeds £2million.

Over the last year Stratophase has significantly grown its in-house capabilities, continuing to advance its integrated optical chip development and production activities, as well as upgrading its bio-assay development facility.

The recruitment of additional team members allows Stratophase to continue to offer a combination of expertise: integrated optical chip & system design, software development, surface chemistry and biochemistry. A blend of technological competencies ideally suited to support the ongoing development of the innovative sensor solution.

Stratophase successfully completed a number of projects and contracts during 2008. These include U.K. Government Technology Strategy Board and Home Office contracts, both of which broke new ground by developing a unique sensing system for the detection of biological binding events and the compositional measurement of liquid chemicals (both completed summer 2008).

A further Technology Strategy Board funded project was kicked off in 2008, with the aim of developing a Portable Direct Immunoassay Diagnosis Device for Animals and Humans. The project aims to produce a field deployable foot and mouth detector.

In 2008 Stratophase was announced as a key contractor on a high profile U.K. Ministry of Defence contract, designed to develop technical capability and fill a current procurement gap. The £4million project to develop a prototype system for Portable Integrated Battlespace Biological Detection Technology is expected to lead to the procurement of battlespace deployable systems that significantly improve the MOD’s bio-threat detection capabilities.

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