Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Sensor


By combining upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) with rhodamine 6G (R6G) dye molecules, multicolor emission based on energy transfer is achieved. The complexes can be dissolved in epoxy resin, and self-assembled hemispherical microstructures are fabricated through a hydrophobic effect. A luminescence temperature sensor takes advantage of the high temperature sensitivity of the complexes due to energy transfer.

Concepts: Light, Signal processing, Temperature, Rhodamine dyes, Thermodynamics, Dye laser, Rhodamine 6G, Sensor


This paper presents a fully differential single-axis accelerometer fabricated using the MetalMUMPs process. The unique structural configuration and common-centriod wiring of the metal electrodes enables a fully differential sensing scheme with robust metal sensing structures. CoventorWare is used in structural and electrical design and simulation of the fully differential accelerometer. The MUMPs foundry fabrication process of the sensor allows for high yield, good process consistency and provides 20 μm structural thickness of the sensing element, which makes the capacitive sensing eligible. In device characterization, surface profile of the fabricated device is measured using a Veeco surface profilometer; and mean and gradient residual stress in the nickel structure are calculated as approximately 94.7 MPa and -5.27 MPa/μm, respectively. Dynamic characterization of the sensor is performed using a vibration shaker with a high-end commercial calibrating accelerometer as reference. The sensitivity of the sensor is measured as 0.52 mV/g prior to off-chip amplification. Temperature dependence of the sensing capacitance is also characterized. A -0.021fF/°C is observed. The findings in the presented work will provide useful information for design of sensors and actuators such as accelerometers, gyroscopes and electrothermal actuators that are to be fabricated using MetalMUMPs technology.

Concepts: Sensors, Accelerometer, Structure, Profilometer, Capacitive displacement sensor, Transducer, Sensor, Microelectromechanical systems


The deployment of wireless sensor networks for healthcare applications have been motivated and driven by the increasing demand for real-time monitoring of patients in hospital and large disaster response environments. A major challenge in developing such sensor networks is the need for coordinating a large number of randomly deployed sensor nodes. In this study, we propose a multi-parametric clustering scheme designed to aid in the coordination of sensor nodes within cognitive wireless sensor networks. In the proposed scheme, sensor nodes are clustered together based on similar network behaviour across multiple network parameters, such as channel availability, interference characteristics, and topological characteristics, followed by mechanisms for forming, joining and switching clusters. Extensive performance evaluation is conducted to study the impact on important factors such as clustering overhead, cluster joining estimation error, interference probability, as well as probability of reclustering. Results show that the proposed clustering scheme can be an excellent candidate for use in large scale cognitive wireless sensor network deployments with high dynamics.

Concepts: Sensor, Sensor node, Wireless sensor network


Room temperature operation, low detection limit and fast response time are highly desirable for a wide range of gas sensing applications. However, the available gas sensors suffer mainly from high temperature operation or external stimulation for response/recovery. Here, we report an ultrasensitive-flexible-silver-nanoparticle based nanocomposite resistive sensor for ammonia detection and established the sensing mechanism. We show that the nanocomposite can detect ammonia as low as 500 parts-per-trillion at room temperature in a minute time. Furthermore, the evolution of ammonia from different chemical reactions has been demonstrated using the nanocomposite sensor as an example. Our results demonstrate the proof-of-concept for the new detector to be used in several applications including homeland security, environmental pollution and leak detection in research laboratories and many others.

Concepts: Gas sensors, Ammonia, Hydrogen, Gas leak, Sensor, Nitrogen, Natural gas, Chemical reaction


The problem of determining the optimal geometric configuration of a sensor network that will maximize the range-related information available for multiple target positioning is of key importance in a multitude of application scenarios. In this paper, a set of sensors that measures the distances between the targets and each of the receivers is considered, assuming that the range measurements are corrupted by white Gaussian noise, in order to search for the formation that maximizes the accuracy of the target estimates. Using tools from estimation theory and convex optimization, the problem is converted into that of maximizing, by proper choice of the sensor positions, a convex combination of the logarithms of the determinants of the Fisher Information Matrices corresponding to each of the targets in order to determine the sensor configuration that yields the minimum possible covariance of any unbiased target estimator. Analytical and numerical solutions are well defined and it is shown that the optimal configuration of the sensors depends explicitly on the constraints imposed on the sensor configuration, the target positions, and the probabilistic distributions that define the prior uncertainty in each of the target positions. Simulation examples illustrate the key results derived.

Concepts: Wireless sensor network, Maximum likelihood, Sensor, Optimization, Mathematics, Signal processing, Estimator, Estimation theory


Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) have become more and more diversified and are today able to also support high data rate applications, such as multimedia. In this case, per-packet channel handshaking/switching may result in inducing additional overheads, such as energy consumption, delays and, therefore, data loss. One of the solutions is to perform stream-based channel allocation where channel handshaking is performed once before transmitting the whole data stream. Deciding stream-based channel allocation is more critical in case of multichannel WSNs where channels of different quality/stability are available and the wish for high performance requires sensor nodes to switch to the best among the available channels. In this work, we will focus on devising mechanisms that perform channel quality/stability estimation in order to improve the accommodation of stream-based communication in multichannel wireless sensor networks. For performing channel quality assessment, we have formulated a composite metric, which we call channel rank measurement (CRM), that can demarcate channels into good, intermediate and bad quality on the basis of the standard deviation of the received signal strength indicator (RSSI) and the average of the link quality indicator (LQI) of the received packets. CRM is then used to generate a data set for training a supervised machine learning-based algorithm (which we call Normal Equation based Channel quality prediction (NEC) algorithm) in such a way that it may perform instantaneous channel rank estimation of any channel. Subsequently, two robust extensions of the NEC algorithm are proposed (which we call Normal Equation based Weighted Moving Average Channel quality prediction (NEWMAC) algorithm and Normal Equation based Aggregate Maturity Criteria with Beta Tracking based Channel weight prediction (NEAMCBTC) algorithm), that can perform channel quality estimation on the basis of both current and past values of channel rank estimation. In the end, simulations are made using MATLAB, and the results show that the Extended version of NEAMCBTC algorithm (Ext-NEAMCBTC) outperforms the compared techniques in terms of channel quality and stability assessment. It also minimizes channel switching overheads (in terms of switching delays and energy consumption) for accommodating stream-based communication in multichannel WSNs.

Concepts: Standard deviation, Performance, Sensor, Signal processing, Evaluation, Moving average, Sensor node, Wireless sensor network


A new gait phase detection system for continuous monitoring based on wireless sensorized insoles is presented. The system can be used in gait analysis mobile applications, and it is designed for real-time demarcation of gait phases. The system employs pressure sensors to assess the force exerted by each foot during walking. A fuzzy rule-based inference algorithm is implemented on a smartphone and used to detect each of the gait phases based on the sensor signals. Additionally, to provide a solution that is insensitive to perturbations caused by non-walking activities, a probabilistic classifier is employed to discriminate walking forward from other low-level activities, such as turning, walking backwards, lateral walking, etc. The combination of these two algorithms constitutes the first approach towards a continuous gait assessment system, by means of the avoidance of non-walking influences.

Concepts: Algorithm, Assessment, Sensor, Phase, Transducer, Locomotion, Sensors, Personal digital assistant


Guided waves in plate-like structures have been widely investigated for structural health monitoring. Lamb waves and shear horizontal (SH) waves, two commonly used types of waves in plates, provide different benefits for the detection of various types of defects and material degradation. However, there are few sensors that can detect both Lamb and SH waves and also resolve their modal content, namely the wavenumber-frequency spectrum. A sensor that can detect both waves is desirable to take full advantage of both types of waves in order to improve sensitivity to different discontinuity geometries. We demonstrate that polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF) film provides the basis for a multi-element array sensor that detects both Lamb and SH waves and also measures their modal content, i.e., the wavenumber-frequency spectrum.

Concepts: Structure, Wave, Sensor, Fundamental physics concepts, Debut albums, Structural engineering, Structural health monitoring, Polyvinylidene fluoride


In spaceborne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sensors, it is a challenging task to detect ground slow-moving targets against strong clutter background with limited spatial channels and restricted pulse repetition frequency (PRF). In this paper, we evaluate the image-based dual-channel SAR-ground moving target indication (SAR-GMTI) workflow for the Gaofen-3 SAR sensor and analyze the impact of strong azimuth ambiguities on GMTI when the displaced phase center antenna (DPCA) condition is not fully satisfied, which has not been demonstrated yet. An effective sliding window design technique based on system parameters analysis is proposed to deal with azimuth ambiguities and reduce false alarm. In the SAR-GMTI experiments, co-registration, clutter suppression, constant false alarm rate (CFAR) detector, vector velocity estimation and moving target relocation are analyzed and discussed thoroughly. With the real measured data of the Gaofen-3 dual-channel SAR sensor, the GMTI capability of this sensor is demonstrated and the effectiveness of the proposed method is verified.

Concepts: Moving target indication, Radar signal processing, Beamforming, False alarm, Synthetic aperture radar, Detection theory, Sensor, Radar


Wearable sensor technologies are essential to the realization of personalized medicine through continuously monitoring an individual’s state of health. Sampling human sweat, which is rich in physiological information, could enable non-invasive monitoring. Previously reported sweat-based and other non-invasive biosensors either can only monitor a single analyte at a time or lack on-site signal processing circuitry and sensor calibration mechanisms for accurate analysis of the physiological state. Given the complexity of sweat secretion, simultaneous and multiplexed screening of target biomarkers is critical and requires full system integration to ensure the accuracy of measurements. Here we present a mechanically flexible and fully integrated (that is, no external analysis is needed) sensor array for multiplexed in situ perspiration analysis, which simultaneously and selectively measures sweat metabolites (such as glucose and lactate) and electrolytes (such as sodium and potassium ions), as well as the skin temperature (to calibrate the response of the sensors). Our work bridges the technological gap between signal transduction, conditioning (amplification and filtering), processing and wireless transmission in wearable biosensors by merging plastic-based sensors that interface with the skin with silicon integrated circuits consolidated on a flexible circuit board for complex signal processing. This application could not have been realized using either of these technologies alone owing to their respective inherent limitations. The wearable system is used to measure the detailed sweat profile of human subjects engaged in prolonged indoor and outdoor physical activities, and to make a real-time assessment of the physiological state of the subjects. This platform enables a wide range of personalized diagnostic and physiological monitoring applications.

Concepts: Electrical engineering, Integrated circuit, Sensors, Sensor, Measurement, Flexible electronics, Potassium, Signal processing