Using Every          Second Together

How innovative in vitro diagnostics is saving lives

When it comes to a heart attack, every second counts. But help often comes too late. Around 50,000 people die of acute myocardial infarctions every year in Germany. Two thirds of them could be saved by treatment in the first 90 minutes. Together with its partners, First Sensor has developed a sensor system for in vitro diagnostics. In the future, this could be used by emergency doctors to recognize conditions such as heart attacks more quickly by detecting specific substances in the blood.

But good ideas take time; the development of a photonic sensor system began as early as 2014. First Sensor, Fraunhofer HHI, Scienion AG and Berlin Charité want to use this to improve medical diagnosis. "We participated in developing the system so that we could contribute our sensor technology expertise and our many years of experience in dealing with medical devices," says Marcel Hülsemann, development expert at the Berlin-Weißensee location. The new measuring platform is designed to enable fast, easy and sensitive in vitro analysis of human samples directly in the presence of the patient rather than taking the long route through medical laboratories or losing valuable time in crowded waiting rooms.

Waiting room

The distinctive feature of the photonic sensor system is the use of wavelength-based microring resonators. This refers to highly miniaturized rings etched on silicon wafers, which can cause total reflection of light outside the waveguide. The area in which this occurs is called the evanescent field. Synthetic capture molecules are functionalized on the sensor chip used here. Their structure means that after binding, the capture molecules can provide an analyzable signal that perfectly matches the target molecules of the substance to be analyzed. "The two interlock like a key in a keyhole. As a result, the refractive index in the sensor changes and a wavelength shift is identifiable in the measuring signal," says Hülsemann.

Just one year after the start of development, the partners were able to present a demonstrator. The system is particularly fast and displays the molecules contained in liquids in less than a minute. It could also potentially be used to analyze gases and powders. The possible applications of the new measuring platform are manifold. In addition to industrial applications, there are many conceivable uses in medicine, such as point-of-care testing directly in the presence of the patient, telemedicine or low-cost mobile blood analyses. Emergency services could thus begin the initial stages of treatment on the way to the hospital. With a portable system, patients would also be able to keep track of their results at home. Additionally, this method is suitable for neonatal testing thanks to the very small sample size needed to produce a result.

Mikroring Resonator
Mikroring Resonator

The solution is based on highly miniaturized rings, which use functionalized capture molecules and light to detect target molecules of the substance to be analyzed.
Company
First Sensor is one of the world's leading suppliers in the field of sensor systems. In the growth market of sensor systems, First Sensor develops and produces customer-specific solutions for the ever-increasing number of applications in the industrial, medical, and mobility target markets. Our goal here is to identify, meet and solve the challenges of the future with our innovative sensor solutions early on.
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Our investor relations activities aim at raising the international publicity of First Sensor AG and at consolidating and extending the perception of our share as an attractive growth stock. This means we keep our online communication transparent, comprehensive and continuous in order to enhance your trust in our share.
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In the growth market of sensor systems, First Sensor develops and produces customer-specific sensors, electronics, modules and complex systems for the ever-increasing number of applications in the industrial, medical, and mobility target markets. As a solution provider the company offers complete development services from a first draft and proof of concept up to the development of prototypes and finally serial production. First Sensor offers comprehensive development expertise, state-of-the-art packaging technologies and production capacities in clean rooms from ISO class 8 to 5.
Competencies
In the growth market of sensor systems, First Sensor develops and produces customer-specific sensors, electronics, modules and complex systems for the ever-increasing number of applications in the industrial, medical, and mobility target markets. As a solution provider the company offers complete development services from a first draft and proof of concept up to the development of prototypes and finally serial production. First Sensor offers comprehensive development expertise, state-of-the-art packaging technologies and production capacities in clean rooms from ISO class 8 to 5.
Career
Innovation, excellence, proximity – these are our values, our ambition, our drive. Anything less is not an option. Our sensor solutions stand for technical innovation and economic growth. As such, they form the basis for the development and application of new technologies in almost all areas of life. We aim to shape this future together with you.

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