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Integrated smart sensors

The goal of ACTION is to take advantage of recent scientific progress in nanofabrication, photonics, acoustics and decision-making science to foster breakthrough solutions for miniaturizing sensors, integrating them into matter and/or making them communicate together.

The programme has been built around 3 scientific and technological directions:

  • miniaturization/integration of smart sensors with already established concepts,
  • proof of new concepts for integration of sensors into matter,
  • smart networking of sensors.


Towards a novel generation of strain sensors integrated into matter

Some nano deformations visible to the naked eye thanks to innovative integrated optical nanosensors

Metal NanoParticles (MNPs) are known to support Localized Surface Plasmons (LSP) that are highly sensitive, not only to the MNPs chemical composition or size, but also to interparticle resonant coupling when the gap between MNPs is less than the nanoparticle diameter.
This open the way to new smart sensors integrated into matter: some color-changing plasmonic strain sensors based on the spectral variation of plasmonic coupling versus interparticle distances when stretching a composite film that incorporates MNPs.
A fruitful collaboration between the LNIO and Laval University (Québec) has been started to self-organize dense Au NPs rings onto elastomeric film in order to increase sensitivity.
The first prototype, made in collaboration with Univ. Geneva and Univ. Calabria, consisted of 23 nm Au NPs immobilized onto a PDMS substrate with an average distance of 39 nm between neighbouring NPs.
In this way plasmonic coupling effects become visible and the resulting gold-coated flexible tape can be utilized as a color-changing strain sensor.
As nanoparticules act as nanosensors able to predict deformations (SHM), some potential applications could be found in packaging, nanoimprint or industrial paint.

Ultracompact optical biosensors

Integrated SPR Biosensor system for smart wireless sensor networks

The project aims at developing an integrated solution of nano-bio-sensor network for environmental applications (continuous monitoring of air or water systems).
Work in progress include:
- improvement of the optical sensor sensitivity for the detection of selected analytes,
- optimization and integration of an ultra compact spectrometer called CoBiss (patent n°  WO2009127794),
- implementation of an efficient data processing system which would ensure the robustness of the global decision-making.

- Selectivity, sensibility, versatility, robustness (no mechanical part),
- Temperature insensitive (metallic nanocrystals LSPR substrate),
- Fast time processing,
- Liquid phase, gas phase.

In the mid-term, a portable system would be developed for other applications (gas, pollution and pathogens detection).
Partner: Resolution Spectra Systems

Optical lab-on-a-chip for biomarkers detection

In collaboration with NTU taiwan (Biomedical Eng.), the LNIO has been developping a smart and low cost integrated interferometer based on Generalized Lock-in Amplifier (GLIA) and consumer electronic device.
Perspectives by 2019: to take advantage of smartphones to develop a smart network of sensors.

Smart GaAs sensors network

Design of a highly sensitive network of transducers with specific bio-interfaces to detect molecules of interest such as bacteria at low concentration in biological liquid.
New structures of resonant transducers were made in piezoelectric Gallium Arsenide crystal, which presents the ability to be directly biofunctionalized and micromachined. These ultra sensitive and accurate acoustic wave sensors also offer the opportunity to deliver several signals depending on the resonance mode.

Wireless sensors networks

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) control for autonomous wireless passive sensor measurement

This multi-disciplinary project (automation, microwave electronics, UAV control, computer science, signal processing) aims at combining the sensor measurement for UAV control in a feedback loop and the ability of the system to perfom a real time transmission of passive sensor measurement from UAV.
Partners: CM-Drones (UAV design), SENSeOR (wireless sensor reader & sensor chips), LM2S/UTT

Optimizing the packaging of SAW sensors

This challenge has been taken-up in the frame of the joint laboratory “PhASE*” between FEMTO-ST and SENSeOR company. A single-material (LiNbO3) wafer level packaging procedure using polymer adhesive bonding and a hard capping material has been developed and is now under characterization. The goal is to demonstrate an innovative packaging solution suitable for wireless SAW sensing of either temperature or stress, embedded into mechanical or composite structures.
*PhASE: Physical Acoustics, Sensors and Embedded Systems

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