Markets & Applications

Water pollution Monitoring

Signal amplification provided by OMCA allows existing colorimetric tests to be performed with minuscule quantities of reagent. We are developing nitrate and phosphate sensors with very long autonomous operation cycles, promising lower operating costs and simpler instrumentation.

As a consequence, we envisage users will be able to get closer to real-time control strategies in both catchment management and downstream control of purification. Please visit our Water Pollution Monitoring page for further information.

Mesoporous silica


Measuring drug loading of nanoparticles used for viral loading in vaccines or for targeted drug delivery presents significant challenges. At the moment accurate measurement of drug loading can only be carried out in a laboratory using Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) or High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), which are both expensive and difficult to use, limiting the characterisation of new drugs and vaccines and unsuitable for
in-line quality control..

Optical Microcavity analysis is a cost effective and easy to use characterisation technique, allowing fast and accurate measurement of of particle size and drug loading. For more information, please visit our Nanomedicine page. 

Smart Farming

Smart Farming

Within traditional farming, better targeting of fertiliser and pesticide dispersal (and “smart” systems allowing for automation) offer scope for significant cost savings, increased yields, and improved environmental outcomes.

Beyond traditional field-based agriculture, there are also growing markets in hydroponics and aeroponics – soilless farming techniques motivated by high yield per unit area, and savings in terms of water and nutrient use.

Optical microcavity technology will allow us to develop accurate, sensitive, in-situ sensors to monitor and maintain nutrient concentrations in the growth medium.




Aquaculture or fish farming involves a controlled process for cultivating fish but can also be used for the farming of other aquatic organisms such as crustaceans and molluscs.

Due to the high population density of fish, huge losses of stock have occurred when excess nutrient pollution in the area causes algal blooms. When formed, algal blooms can get stuck in the gills of the fish causing damage which reduces harvest weights due to poor health and can potentially cause death. If incoming algal blooms can be predicted or detected, there are several mitigation techniques available, including use of a “bubble curtain” to prevent the algae from entering the cage.

Utilising the same optical microcavity technology that we are using for water pollution monitoring, we will be able to develop a real-time, in-situ remote sensor for monitoring marine nutrient levels to predict algal blooms.



Microcavity-enhanced sensing could have a substantial impact in the medical diagnostics market by offering highly parallelised point of care blood or saliva testing to measure multiple bio markers simultaneously, whilst using very small volumes of expensive reagents, significantly reducing both time and cost.



Defence & Security

There is a significant need for portable devices for testing for trace quantities of explosives, chemical weapons, and narcotics, with demand for sensors of non-volatile compounds that are difficult to detect with ion mobility techniques

We are currently investigating the feasibility of combining immunoassays with optical microcavity technology to detect trace amounts of suspect material in solution. Ideally this methodology will be quantitative, and our microcavity enhancement will result in significantly reduced detection limits compared to existing immunoassaybased detection.