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SENPIMAG — Result In Brief

Project ID: 505265
Funded under: FP6-NMP

Redefining sensor technology

Emerging research on sensor technology could make much of today's high-tech equipment work much more efficiently, from cars and medical devices to alarm systems and aeroplanes.
Redefining sensor technology
Magnetic sensors are very useful in numerous products and applications, ranging from aviation security to climate observation. Despite this, there has not been much progress in making them more accurate since they were first invented a few decades ago.

The EU-funded project Senpimag sought to develop a new class of sensors that are more reliable, less expensive and much smaller in size. The project team aimed at increasing sensitivity, decreasing power consumption, facilitating production and bringing the sensors down in size to the micron or even nanoscale.

Project researchers therefore designed new sensor elements that combine ferromagnetic properties and piezoelectric ones to create an AC magnetic field, optimising voltage output and removing unnecessary coils.

This objective proved very challenging in terms of obtaining a much more sensitive piezoelectric reading. There were also hurdles in obtaining the ideal magnetic material drops and magnetostriction, requiring more fine-tuning and optimisation than the initial designs stipulated.

Faced with these new challenges, the project team continued its efforts to develop ultra-sensitive integrated magnetic sensors that could work in today's more demanding high-tech applications.

Eventually, these promising sensors could redefine metal detection in security, enable better navigation in vehicles, create superior medical devices and improve security of large spaces such as malls and airports. If research conducted during this project is pursued in the future, European industry could benefit from this forthcoming technology dramatically, and by extension so would society at large.

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