Causeway Sensor wins IOP Start-up Award

26 November 2018

Causeway Sensor wins the IOP Start-up Award for creating a disruptive technology that will offer a paradigm shift in health care diagnostics.

Causeway Sensor wins IOP Start-up Award
Antony Murphy, Megan Hopwood and Bob Pollard, Causeway Sensors.


Belfast company Causeway Sensors have won one the prestigious IOP Start-up Awards 2018. The award was presented by UK Employment Minister, Alok Sharma MP at a recent event in Westminister.

Causeway Sensors are experts at manufacturing on the nanoscale – on the scale of atoms and molecules. At the nanoscale, materials and their interaction with light behave quite differently.

The company, a Queen’s University Belfast spin-out, have developed a chip with a billion gold nanorods that act as interacting optical antennae. The resonant frequency of these nanostructures is highly sensitive to changes in mass at their surface, making them ideal for biological sensing applications. They have built an accompanying device that sensitively reads biological detection events at the chip surface.

Rapid detection of clinically relevant biomarkers and pathogens from biological samples is central to the diagnosis of disease. Current hospital practice involves taking blood samples from the patient and sending these samples to a central laboratory for processing. The turnaround time from sample to diagnosis can range from several hours to days.

Causeway Sensors are creating a disruptive technology that will offer a paradigm shift in health care diagnostics. Their rapid point-of-care platform will address diagnostic bottlenecks, giving clinicians accurate data in minutes, enabling quick prescription of the correct treatment. Their technology will have its greatest impact in infectious diseases like sepsis, where survival rates drop by 8% every hour it is untreated.

The company was founded in 2013 by Professor Robert Bowman and Dr Bob Pollard of the School of Mathematics and Physics and Dr John Nelson, QUB.  

It has recently secured secured £1.5 million (€1.7 million) in investment from Bank of Ireland Kernal Capital, Invest NI,  Qubis and Innovate UK.

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