University of Nottingham
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Optical fibre sensing

Our optical fibre sensors in medical devices can measure a wide range of clinical parameters, and we have a strong track-record of translating our optical sensing devices into clinical use, through our excellent clinical collaborations at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and with industrial partners.

We have successfully incorporated our optical sensors in the development of critical care monitoring devices, novel surgical devices and are embedding them into textiles for wearable monitoring and well-being. Adding a functional chemical coating to the sensors has extended the range of parameters that can be measured to gases, biomarkers and drugs, and by embedding these functional sensors into textiles, we have opened up new clinical applications.

Measurement capabilities

Our optical fibre sensors can measure

  • Heartrate
  • Oxygen saturation
  • Mechanical properties eg absolute pressure

We are currently developing optical fibre chemical sensors, functionalised with nano-assembled thin film coatings. These can be highly sensitive and selective and can measure gases, biomarkers and drugs eg:

  • Humidity
  • pH
  • Pressure
  • Gases (eg Ammonia, Benzene, Chloroform, Toluene, Carbon dioxide, Carbon monoxide, Formaldehyde, Nitrogen dioxide)
  • Biomarkers and drugs (eg Vancomycin, Streptavidin, Immunoglobulin)

For functional sensing, contact:


Textile-based sensing

Through our collaboration with Footfalls and Heartbeats, we are developing textiles incorporating sensors. The revolutionary manufacturing process developed by Footfalls and Heartbeats creates a smart fabric which uses nano-scale interactions within the textile to make the fabric itself the sensor, avoiding the need for wires or miniature electronics.

The addition of our optical fibres to these textiles increases the range of parameters that can be measured. Our latest developments are optical fibre chemical sensors, functionalised with nano-assembled thin film coatings, which can be highly sensitive and selective and can monitor humidity, gases, biomarkers and drugs within the textile.

Applications we are exploring include:

  • Smart wound care – we can determine how tight a bandage is, and what are the levels of moisture within a wound dressing
  • Diabetic foot care –using smart socks which monitor the blood flow in feet for diabetic patients, we can predict tissue breakdown in those with diabetes to help prevent diabetic foot ulcers
  • Bedsores – by monitoring absolute pressure, we could predict and prevent bedsores•Gait analysis – preventing falls.

For textile-based sensing, contact










Experts: Steve Morgan, Serhiy Korposh, Ricardo Correia

Key grants: