Desmond Gibson is currently a professor at the University of the West of Scotland’s Institute of Thin Films, Sensors and Imaging and at the School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Science. He has thirty year’s experience in thin film and sensor research, production and development.

“I founded the Institute of Thin Films, Sensors and Imaging (ITFSI) at the University of the West of Scotland in 2014. The Institute specialises in the development and research of thin films for various applications in medical devices, sensors, engineering, optics, electronic devices and photonics.

Alongside my colleague, Dr David Houston, I’ve developed an innovative thin film technology that will be used in non-contact thermometers.  Sensors are used to absorb infrared radiation and embedded in a chip which gives a true measurement of human body temperature.  This technology has the potential to prevent the spread of the virus as it can accurately measure one of the main COVID-19 symptoms, without the need for close contact and the risk of cross-contamination.   

Since the beginning of the outbreak we’ve received orders for more than 12 million of the chips from around the world. We’ve been working in partnership with Glenrothes-based semi-conductor foundry, Semefab, to increase production capabilities and to bring the product to market. This partnership has shown what can be achieved when academics and industry work together to find solutions to real-world issues.

Throughout lockdown we’ve kept our labs open to maintain production levels. This has been a challenge in itself. We’ve implemented strict social distancing regime and given all our staff personal protective equipment. We’re very proud of how our team have adapted to these restrictions so that we can continue to produce technology that has a global impact in the fight against COVID-19.”