Reusable UV sensor films — TU Dresden spin-o

image: PROOF
to see After

Credit: Tim Achenbach

Artificially generated UV radiation is used in many industrial applications: for example, for the sterilization of air, water and surfaces or for the rapid hardening of coated surfaces, printing inks, paints or adhesives. However, monitoring the quality and success of the use of UV radiation still has a long way to go, especially with regard to the accurate measurement of UV dose. If, for example, too low a UV dose is used in offset printing, entire batches of product have to be thrown away because the coating is not dry. Disinfecting surfaces, on the other hand, can leave behind harmful viruses or bacteria. Therefore, overdosing is often used, resulting in high operating costs and premature maintenance.

“Our UV sensor films allow for the first time accurate measurement of UV dose directly on the surface and during the manufacturing process,” says Dr. Paul-Anton Will, Co-Founder and Head of Product Development at PROOF. “We offer reliable and fast monitoring of the success of UV drying and UV disinfection. Companies can thus avoid unnecessary waiting times, reduce energy costs and also reduce material wear.” In the future, the technology will also be used in other products, for example as reusable labels or in security applications.

The underlying physical principle was discovered and developed in 2018 in the laboratories of the IAPP (Dresden Integrated Center for Applied Physics and Photonic Materials) and the Institute for Applied Physics by Professor Sebastian Reineke and his team. “We use ultra-thin films coated with phosphorescent organic molecules. When the molecules are excited by irradiation with UV light, they begin to glow,” says Will. “The special thing here is that we can control exactly at what irradiated UV dose the phosphorescence appears by the composition of the layer.”

Through a spin-off, the three physicists Tim Achenbach, Dr. Paul-Anton Will and Dr. Philipp Wellmann want to commercialize the technology within the next 18 months. For this purpose, the team has been receiving EXIST research transfer funding of around 790,000 euros since May 1, 2022. With the EXIST program, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection supports research projects outstanding research-based start-ups. The scientists found advice and support in the application process from dresden|exists, the start-up service for universities and research institutes in Dresden. In their own “Venture Acceleration Program”, the consultants will continue to accompany the team until the founding of the company.

The founding team not only brings technological knowledge, but also entrepreneurial experience: Tim Achenbach is the team scientist and leads technology development. Dr. Paul-Anton Will is responsible for the development and production of customer-oriented products. Dr. Philipp Wellmann brings his network and experience as Managing Director and Sales Manager in the areas of Research & Development and Marketing & Sales. Professor Sebastian Reineke continues to accompany the project as a mentor and scientific advisor.

The team is currently looking for reinforcements in the areas of technology, laboratory and sample production. For more information:

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