UWS works to prevent spread of COVID-19

Academics from the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) have played a key role in the production of innovative thin film-based chips that will help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Working in partnership with Glenrothes-based semi-conductor foundry Semefab, researchers at UWS’s Institute of Thin Films, Sensors and Imaging (ITFSI) have developed technology which will be embedded in non-contact thermometers, allowing frontline health workers to take accurate body temperature measurements without the need for contact. It’s hoped that this will help reduce the spread of the virus in healthcare and social settings.

Professor Des Gibson, Director of UWS’s Institute of Thin Films, Sensors and Imaging, said:

“By reducing the need for close contact and the risk of cross-contamination, the infrared sensor technology to come out of UWS has real potential to have a global impact in the fight against coronavirus.

“This is a great example of the fantastic work that can be achieved when academics and industry work together to find solutions to real-world issues.”

Developed in conjunction with Semefab, and with funding from CENSIS and InnovateUK ERANET, the sensors embedded in the chips absorb infrared radiation, meaning doctors and nurses won’t have to touch patients in order to check their body temperature.

Allan James, Managing Director at Semefab, added:

“The innovative collaborative project with UWS has provided Semefab with core technology which, combined with our high volume production capabilities, brings this remote temperature sensing product to market.”

So far, the firm has received more than 12 million orders for the chips from all around the world, with many more expected as the pandemic continues.