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Special Issue "Transducer Systems"

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A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2012)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Urs Staufer

Micro and Nano Engineering, Precision and Microsystems Engineering (PME), Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering (3mE), TU Delft, Room 34-G-1-455, Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD Delft, The Netherlands
Website | E-Mail
Interests: application of nanoscientific knowledge in engineering research; scientific instrumentation; tools for nanoscience; sensing and actuating MEMS; MEMS for space and planetary research; microfabrication Contribution: Special Issue: Transducer Systems

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The coming decennia will see an increase in specific, targeted data collection to facilitate knowledge-founded decisions and operations in industrial production, food processing, healthcare, or environmental protection alike. Sensors are the essential first elements in this data collection and information-processing chain. They detect the primary information about the status of an object or situation in a specific measurement and transduce it into a processable signal. This signal is evaluated and used to drive actuators or generators. Alternatively, these transducers act based on indirect information or reliable models to control processes and products.

Each of these individual transducing elements has been given a lot of attention in the past. This current special issue likes to address the systems aspect and the integration of transducers into complete devices. Hence, we solicit review articles and original research papers on systems architecture, systems integration and fabrication, back-end processing; and applications of transducer systems e.g., for metrology, process control, µ-fluidics. New sensing, actuating or generating concepts, which are especially suited for systems integration, which make use of recently discovered phenomena, or which allow measuring or controlling so far inaccessible quantities are also considered.

Prof. Dr. Urs Staufer
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • sensor MEMS and complete devices thereof
  • actuator MEMS and complete devices thereof
  • systems architecture, back-end technology
  • packaging
  • microfluidics
  • MEMS for industrial applications
  • MEMS in metrology
  • MEMS in process control
  • MEMS in surveillance
  • MEMS systems integration
  • very large scale integrated micromechanical systems

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Two Dimensional Array of Piezoresistive Nanomechanical Membrane-Type Surface Stress Sensor (MSS) with Improved Sensitivity
Sensors 2012, 12(11), 15873-15887; doi:10.3390/s121115873
Received: 10 September 2012 / Revised: 5 November 2012 / Accepted: 12 November 2012 / Published: 16 November 2012
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (1154 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We present a new generation of piezoresistive nanomechanical Membrane-type Surface stress Sensor (MSS) chips, which consist of a two dimensional array of MSS on a single chip. The implementation of several optimization techniques in the design and microfabrication improved the piezoresistive sensitivity by
[...] Read more.
We present a new generation of piezoresistive nanomechanical Membrane-type Surface stress Sensor (MSS) chips, which consist of a two dimensional array of MSS on a single chip. The implementation of several optimization techniques in the design and microfabrication improved the piezoresistive sensitivity by 3~4 times compared to the first generation MSS chip, resulting in a sensitivity about ~100 times better than a standard cantilever-type sensor and a few times better than optical read-out methods in terms of experimental signal-to-noise ratio. Since the integrated piezoresistive read-out of the MSS can meet practical requirements, such as compactness and not requiring bulky and expensive peripheral devices, the MSS is a promising transducer for nanomechanical sensing in the rapidly growing application fields in medicine, biology, security, and the environment. Specifically, its system compactness due to the integrated piezoresistive sensing makes the MSS concept attractive for the instruments used in mobile applications. In addition, the MSS can operate in opaque liquids, such as blood, where optical read-out techniques cannot be applied. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transducer Systems)
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Open AccessArticle Estimation of PSD Shifts for High-Resolution Metrology of Thickness Micro-Changes with Possible Applications in Vessel Walls and Biological Membrane Characterization
Sensors 2012, 12(11), 15394-15423; doi:10.3390/s121115394
Received: 3 August 2012 / Revised: 29 October 2012 / Accepted: 2 November 2012 / Published: 9 November 2012
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (2187 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Achieving accurate measurements of inflammation levels in tissues or thickness changes in biological membranes (e.g., amniotic sac, parietal pleura) and thin biological walls (e.g., blood vessels) from outside the human body, is a promising research line in the medical area. It would provide
[...] Read more.
Achieving accurate measurements of inflammation levels in tissues or thickness changes in biological membranes (e.g., amniotic sac, parietal pleura) and thin biological walls (e.g., blood vessels) from outside the human body, is a promising research line in the medical area. It would provide a technical basis to study the options for early diagnosis of some serious diseases such as hypertension, atherosclerosis or tuberculosis. Nevertheless, achieving the aim of non-invasive measurement of those scarcely-accessible parameters on patient internal tissues, currently presents many difficulties. The use of high-frequency ultrasonic transducer systems appears to offer a possible solution. Previous studies using conventional ultrasonic imaging have shown this, but the spatial resolution was not sufficient so as to permit a thickness evaluation with clinical significance, which requires an accuracy of a few microns. In this paper a broadband ultrasonic technique, that was recently developed by the authors to address other non-invasive medical detection problems (by integrating a piezoelectric transducer into a spectral measuring system), is extended to our new objective; the aim is its application to the thickness measurement of sub-millimeter membranes or layers made of materials similar to some biological tissues (phantoms). The modeling and design rules of such a transducer system are described, and various methods of estimating overtones location in the power spectral density (PSD) are quantitatively assessed with transducer signals acquired using piezoelectric systems and also generated from a multi-echo model. Their effects on the potential resolution of the proposed thickness measuring tool, and their capability to provide accuracies around the micron are studied in detail. Comparisons are made with typical tools for extracting spatial parameters in laminar samples from echo-waveforms acquired with ultrasonic transducers. Results of this advanced measurement spectral tool are found to improve the performance of typical cross-correlation methods and provide reliable and high-resolution estimations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transducer Systems)
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Open AccessArticle “Capacitive Sensor” to Measure Flow Electrification and Prevent Electrostatic Hazards
Sensors 2012, 12(11), 14315-14326; doi:10.3390/s121114315
Received: 18 September 2012 / Revised: 16 October 2012 / Accepted: 18 October 2012 / Published: 25 October 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (943 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
At a solid/liquid interface, physico-chemical phenomena occur that lead to the separation of electrical charges, establishing a zone called electrical double layer. The convection of one part of these charges by the liquid flow is the cause of the flow electrification phenomenon which
[...] Read more.
At a solid/liquid interface, physico-chemical phenomena occur that lead to the separation of electrical charges, establishing a zone called electrical double layer. The convection of one part of these charges by the liquid flow is the cause of the flow electrification phenomenon which is suspected of being responsible of incidents in the industry. The P’ Institute of Poitiers University and CNRS has developed an original sensor called “capacitive sensor” that allows the characterization of the mechanisms involved in the generation, accumulation and transfer of charges. As an example, this sensor included in the design of high power transformers, could easily show the evolution of electrostatic charge generation developed during the operating time of the transformer and, therefore, point out the operations leading to electrostatic hazards and, then, monitor the transformer to prevent such risks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transducer Systems)
Open AccessArticle Electrostatics of Planar Multielectrode Sensors with Application to Surface Elastometry
Sensors 2012, 12(9), 11946-11956; doi:10.3390/s120911946
Received: 18 July 2012 / Revised: 2 August 2012 / Accepted: 6 August 2012 / Published: 29 August 2012
PDF Full-text (180 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Systems of planar electrodes arranged on dielectric or piezoelectric layers are applied in numerous sensors and transducers. In this paper electrostatics of such electrode systems is presented and exploited in the analysis of distributed piezoelectric transducer dedicated to surface elastometry of biological tissues
[...] Read more.
Systems of planar electrodes arranged on dielectric or piezoelectric layers are applied in numerous sensors and transducers. In this paper electrostatics of such electrode systems is presented and exploited in the analysis of distributed piezoelectric transducer dedicated to surface elastometry of biological tissues characterized by large Poisson modulus. The fundamental Matlab® code for analyzing complex planar multiperiodic electrode systems is also presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transducer Systems)
Open AccessArticle A Method for Evaluating the Electro-Mechanical Characteristics of Piezoelectric Actuators during Motion
Sensors 2012, 12(9), 11559-11570; doi:10.3390/s120911559
Received: 15 June 2012 / Revised: 8 August 2012 / Accepted: 14 August 2012 / Published: 24 August 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (4067 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The electro-mechanical characteristics of piezoelectric actuators which have being driven are evaluated in this paper. The force generated by actuators is measured as an inertial force of a corner cub prism which is attached to the actuators. The Doppler frequency shift of a
[...] Read more.
The electro-mechanical characteristics of piezoelectric actuators which have being driven are evaluated in this paper. The force generated by actuators is measured as an inertial force of a corner cub prism which is attached to the actuators. The Doppler frequency shift of a laser beam, due to the motion of actuator, is accurately measured by a heterodyne interferometer. Subsequently, the mechanical quantities, such as velocity, acceleration, force, power and displacement, are calculated from the Doppler frequency shift. With the measurement results of current and voltage of the actuator, the relationships between electrical and mechanical characteristics are evaluated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transducer Systems)
Open AccessArticle A Comb-Drive Actuator Driven by Capacitively-Coupled-Power
Sensors 2012, 12(8), 10881-10889; doi:10.3390/s120810881
Received: 20 June 2012 / Revised: 17 July 2012 / Accepted: 27 July 2012 / Published: 7 August 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (373 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper presents a new actuation mechanism to drive comb-drive actuators. An asymmetric configuration of the finger overlap was used to generate capacitive coupling for the actuation mechanism. When the driving voltages were applied on the stators, a voltage would be induced at
[...] Read more.
This paper presents a new actuation mechanism to drive comb-drive actuators. An asymmetric configuration of the finger overlap was used to generate capacitive coupling for the actuation mechanism. When the driving voltages were applied on the stators, a voltage would be induced at the rotor due to the capacitive coupling. Then, an electrostatic force would be exerted onto the rotor due to the voltage differences between the stators and the rotor. The actuator’s static displacement and resonant frequency were theoretically analyzed. To verify the design, a comb-drive actuator with different initial finger overlaps, i.e., 159.3 μm and 48.9 μm on each side, was fabricated and tested. The results show that the actuator worked well using the proposed actuation mechanism. A static displacement of 41.7 μm and a resonant frequency of 577 Hz were achieved. Using the actuation mechanism, no electrical connection is required between the rotor and the outside power supply. This makes some comb-drive actuators containing heterogeneous structures easy to design and actuate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transducer Systems)
Open AccessArticle Adaptive UAV Attitude Estimation Employing Unscented Kalman Filter, FOAM and Low-Cost MEMS Sensors
Sensors 2012, 12(7), 9566-9585; doi:10.3390/s120709566
Received: 21 May 2012 / Revised: 2 July 2012 / Accepted: 9 July 2012 / Published: 13 July 2012
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (5709 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Navigation employing low cost MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) sensors in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) is an uprising challenge. One important part of this navigation is the right estimation of the attitude angles. Most of the existent algorithms handle the sensor readings in a fixed
[...] Read more.
Navigation employing low cost MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) sensors in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) is an uprising challenge. One important part of this navigation is the right estimation of the attitude angles. Most of the existent algorithms handle the sensor readings in a fixed way, leading to large errors in different mission stages like take-off aerobatic maneuvers. This paper presents an adaptive method to estimate these angles using off-the-shelf components. This paper introduces an Attitude Heading Reference System (AHRS) based on the Unscented Kalman Filter (UKF) using the Fast Optimal Attitude Matrix (FOAM) algorithm as the observation model. The performance of the method is assessed through simulations. Moreover, field experiments are presented using a real fixed-wing UAV. The proposed low cost solution, implemented in a microcontroller, shows a satisfactory real time performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transducer Systems)
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