Industry-university partnership

Holistic thinking across the materials value chain

Prior to 2010, a materials manufacturer in the field of synthetic diamond materials for industrial applications fabricated a range of chemical vapour deposited boron doped diamond materials, both in polycrystalline and single crystal form. Applications for the materials included electrochemical water processing. It was recognised that variants of the materials could also be useful in electrochemical sensing applications.

Case Study

Case Type

Portfolio of patent applications


Industry-university partnership


Industrial partner secured IP


The materials manufacturer did not possess world leading know-how in the field of electrochemical sensing applications in order to determine what materials variants would be best for electrochemical deposition and sensing applications. However, it identified a UK university which did have a world leading electrochemical sensor group.


A partnership was formed to develop boron doped diamond-based electrochemical sensors, combining boron doped diamond materials synthesis know-how from the industrial partner with electrochemical sensor know-how from the university partner. Over several years, IP was captured across the commercial value chain including: synthesis and materials IP covering boron doped diamond optimised for electrochemical sensing applications; processing IP for fabricating electrodes having different formats and functionalisations; subcomponent IP including diamond encapsulated macroelectrodes, microelectrode arrays, band electrodes, and ring disc electrodes; and device and application IP including conductivity sensors, pH sensors, sensors configured to detect target species such as heavy metals and X-ray fluorescence spectrometry applications.


A portfolio of patent families was constructed across the commercial value chain, from synthesis and optimised materials though to device configurations and sensing methodologies tailored for end applications. The university secured access to bespoke samples of material on which to base its research, along with funding from the industrial partner for PhD and post-doctoral researchers and future royalty revenue streams. The industrial partner secured the resultant IP, including a range of valuable IP assets across the commercial value chain, thus providing a portfolio tailored to maximising returns. This increased flexibility through numerous revenue streams and ensured a greater degree of freedom to operate across a range of applications spaces.

For more information please contact Martin Neilson

020 3904 3365

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