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Centre of Excellence NAMASTE
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Ceramic microsystems
Sensor systems
Soft composites
Project of new opportunities

Prof. dr. Janez Trontelj:
»Research done in the scope of Centre of Excellence NAMASTE is aimed at gaining applicable knowledge, proven by patents and innovation. Many projects were designed on challenges, faced by our industry partners. Several discoveries have led to the development of new products, that are already on the prototype stage. Research achievements of the group are the proof of added value we bring to the industry.«

SENSOR SYSTEMS   Results and area of application  

Artificial nose for detection of explosives and disinfectant control, optical positioning sensor, smart sensors – these are just a few of the many of development achievements of the group for micro and nano-technologies for advanced sensor systems.

Research and development project New materials and technologies for advanced sensor systems operates within the Centre of Excellence NAMASTE, in cooperation with the Faculty of the Electrotechnics.

Results and area of application

THz sensor
The THz system designed in the laboratory for microelectronics (LMFE) captures the THz image with ??approximately 0.1 m × 0.1 m area and a resolution of 32 × 32 pixels. It operates on the central frequency of 300 GHz and uses FM modulation for the illumination and a heterodyne mixer on the sensor side. The THz radiation can easily penetrate most types of clothing, plastics, paper, cardboard etc, The images captured with the presented system, give the approximate position and shape of objects that are either in containers or otherwise obscured for visible light. THz sensors can be used as sensor arrays in many fields for image capturing in medicine (detection of changes in the tissue and other abnormalities), the food industry (detection of impurities in the products and quality control), pharmacy (coating thickness inspection of tablets, monitoring of the active substance distribution), automotive industry (thickness of the coating measurement, detection of surface damage), paper industry (paper/cardboard thickness, density, homogeneity), etc.

3D micromachining of silicon for advanced microsystems
In the cases where a reduced thickness of the masking film is required, a two-step Bosch process was upgraded to a three-step etching process, by which the etching selectivity of silicon with respect to oxide or the photoresist mask was increased in most cases by more than 50 %. In addition, an etching process resulting in the etched microstructures with tapered walls has been developed, combining short alternating isotropic and anisotropic etching sequences. The application of the DRIE process is versatile and crucial for the realization of advanced sensors, actuators and microsystems (accelerometers, gyroscopes, energy harvesters, etc.). For the delivery and analysis of fluid substances in biomedicine, silicon microneedles for the subcutaneous introduction of drugs were fabricated. Furthermore, microfluidic elements with integrated Au electrodes for impedance spectroscopy and micropumps as basic microfluidic elements were elaborated. Microfluidic elements and micropumps are composed of glass and PDMS polymer layers.

Artificial nose
We have recently demonstrated that concentrations as low as 3 molecules of TNT and 0.3 molecules of RDX in 10+12 molecules of carrier gas can be measured. To the best of our knowledge, these results are at the cutting edge of the sensitivity of any COMB sensor ever realized for that purpose. Currently, we are working on improving the sensitivity by two orders of magnitude and increasing the selectivity. An artificial nose is believed to be applied within a wide range of applications, from medicine, security, military applications, environmental control, food processing, science, etc.


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