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Fibre Nervous Sensing Systems

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - FINESSE (Fibre Nervous Sensing Systems)

Reporting period: 2018-10-01 to 2020-09-30

The objective behind FINESSE (FIbre NErvous Sensing SystEms) is to mimic the nervous system of living bodies by turning man-made and natural structures into objects that are sensitive to external stimuli owing to advanced distributed fibre-optic sensor technology, with the objective to either give early warning in case of possible danger or occurrence of damage or to optimise the operation of the structure to allow for sustainable use of natural resources and assets. Enabling such functionalities will greatly contribute to realizing a safe, secure and energy-efficient Europe, which is an identified societal concern.
To turn this ambitious concept into reality, 29 European (1 from the US) research centres and industrial partners have teamed up to set up this Innovative Training Network, with the common objective of educating and training 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) in the development of a set of disruptive new optical ‘artificial nervous systems’, and to boost the industrial uptake of these sensors by technology transfer from academic research to the European optical fibre sensor industry. The partners also engaged in stimulating awareness of this technology to other scientists and the wider public to encourage research, application and technology transfer in this field, and improve societal acceptance on distributed fibre sensing systems through various training events, opened to other early career researchers, and outreach activities.
The research ambition in FINESSE is to use a radically innovative approach to develop customised sensing systems in combination with dedicated optical fibres leading to optimal measurement solutions, instead of relying on existing optical fibres.
To reach this ambitious goal, the research partners have identified 4 work-packages: innovation in distributed optical fibre sensor (DOFS), fabrication of novel optical fibres, field applications, and technology transfer to industry. This proposed cross-fertilisation will generate a new breed of top scientists, capable of developing new products through research work, and equipped with business and entrepreneurship acumen in their domain. This will greatly enhance the future employability of the ESRs and boost the optical fibre sensing market in Europe.
During the 4 years whole period of the FINESSE Innovative Training Network (Oct. 2016-Oct.2020) the main achieved results include:

* The equal-opportunity recruitment of all the 15 ESRs during the 1st year of the FINESSE project, securing the smooth flow and coherence of the project.

* The successful organisation of 5 training events on the topic of optical sensors, distributed sensing methods, speciality fibres, entrepreneurship and field applications opened to external participation.

* The organization of a special FINESSE workshop with all talks delivered by FINESSE principal investigators during the 26th International Optical Fibre Sensor Conference (OFS26) in Lausanne, Switzerland, September 2018, attracting more than 300 participants. This workshop was dedicated to emerging applications of optical fibre sensors, and difficulties to face when going from the laboratory to the field.

* A successful mid-term meeting, during which periodic progress was presented and each ESR presented his/her work individually in front of the project officer and the external expert.

* A successful final workshop, to summarize the achievements of individual and communicative efforts from all the researchers and to identify the promising outputs from the network, sketching a track for the follow-ups. Each ESR presented his/her work individually in front of the whole consortium and answered questions and comments. Each supervisor has given a presentation on their vision for the future of research in the field, as a take-away memory to the ESRs.

* 47 secondments performed by the ESRs over a total length of 83 months, establishing extremely constructive collaboration, networking, and outputs.

* An important research material and outputs produced by the ESRs, substantiated by a large number of high impact-factor journal papers (36) and conference papers (57), individual awards by some ESRs in conferences, and more grants awarded to beneficiaries.

* Several proposed and demonstrated novel configurations of optical fibre sensors, some of which represent real breakthroughs in the field, such as pressure sensing, radiation monitoring, deformation tracking, and seismic detection and monitoring. Several breakthroughs have been highlighted by high impact journals and reported to the general public in several languages.

* Many research achievements and outreach/dissemination activities have been posted on the ITN-FINESSE Twitter account, with hundreds of followers. The ESRs have also shared their experience in the ITN-FINESSE YouTube channel. The ITN-FINESSE account on ResearchGate has attracted many followers.
* All ESRs are expected to get their PhD degree according to their career path development plan. 7 ESRs are expecting to get their PhD during 2020, 6 in 2021, and 2 in 2022. 3 ESRs have already defended their PhD thesis by November 2020.
During the whole period of the ITN-FINESSE project, the following targets have been reached:
1. Technically, the critical design parameters of special optical fibres have been defined and fabricated, together with the identification of practical limitations of the interrogation methods in terms of pressure sensitivity, gas sensing, spatial resolution, accuracy and measured range.
2. The about 100 publications in high impact journals and international/national conferences, and the dissemination of ITN-FINESSE in press releases, internet channels, social media, videos, and exhibitions, have seeded the long-lasting impact of both ITN-FINESSE in the scientific field, and drawn more general society’s attention on the optical fibre sensing technology.
3. Five training events and several workshops have been successfully held, and ESRs have also participated in individual training events and workshops, equipping the ESRs and several other external experts in the optical fibre sensing field with a wide knowledge spectrum, and established wide networking with all the participants.
4. All the ESRs are expected to obtain their PhD degrees with the support of ITN-FINESSE project. Their research, training, networking and collaboration experience surely will give a complete knowledge and broad vision in the whole field of optical fibre sensing technology, from fibre fabrication to the real implementation of optical fibre sensors, with an endnote about industrialization. With this new generation of experts, it will greatly accelerate the development of new and innovative optical fibre sensing technologies and their applications to secure a safer and smarter environment, helping the experts to tackle the complexity of structural health monitoring, and making Europe a stronghold in distributed fibre sensing technology.
5. FINESSE success will promote the concept of smart innerved objects for better use of resources, relying on safer and optimised infrastructures. As a direct illustration, a FINESSE beneficiary has been recently awarded a prestigious ERC Proof-of-Concept (PoC) Grant to develop a distributed fibre sensing concept for submarine seismic detection, following a publication in Nature Communications highlighted by CORDIS (The Community Research and Development Information Service).
FINESSE Research Highlight
FINESSE Workshop
ESR PhD thesis defense time chart
Publication and Conference record
Mid-term meeting
Application of fibre sensing in windfarms
Final workshop via ZOOM
FINESSE Training Event FLYERS
TrainingEvents_A glimps
Impact of optical fibre sensing for societal applications
Public Outreach
ESR PhD Defenses 2020
FINESSE implementation on site
OFS26_ESRs