Ion sensing

New robust material for effective encapsulation of molecular sensors

We have developed a new material that can effectively encapsulate a variety of ion sensors and have successfully demonstrated its utility and scalability.

Uniquely, our patented hydrogel technology can be integrated into a range of existing devices for monitoring ion levels in samples - in real-time.


Our technology creates a versatile platform which provides a range of benefits:

  • Minimal leaching of the sensor over time
  • Rapid and reliable read-out signal
  • Flexible size and shape tuned for use in a variety of devices, including microfluidic platforms 
  • Potential to simultaneously monitor multiple analytes
  • Multiple re-use of the sensing material

These characteristics overcome current obstacles that have long hindered the development of ion sensing materials.


Our technology addresses the sensing needs of a variety of markets, including:

  • Medical - Point-of-care diagnostics to monitor blood content
  • Agriculture - Pesticide and herbicide monitoring
  • Environment - Drinking water analysis and sampling
  • Food and drink - Quality control and contaminant detection
  • Security and defence - Stand-off detection of harmful agents

Research opportunities

We are currently working with the Mast Group to develop new sensing capabilities.

If you are interested in learning more about this exciting technology and its applications, please get in touch.

Meet the team

Photograph of Samantha Bodman

Samantha Bodman

Research Associate

Department of Chemistry

Photograph of Stephen Butler

Dr Stephen Butler

Senior Lecturer

Department of Chemistry

Photograph of Helen Willcock

Dr Helen Willcock

Senior Lecturer

Department of Materials

Our research to further develop the technology is funded by the EPSRC IAA programme.