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Non-Conventional Wave Propagation for Future Sensing and Actuating Technologies

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - NOCTURNO (Non-Conventional Wave Propagation for Future Sensing and Actuating Technologies)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2020-01-01 do 2023-06-30

New sensing devices and technologies are the key in addressing numerous challenges that agriculture and entire agrifood ecosystem are facing today. Namely, to produce more food for the ever-growing population, agriculture must become more efficient but, at the same time, sustainable and environmental-friendly. To address this challenge, a number of biophysical parameters need to be monitored and measured constantly, thus providing valuable data needed to optimize the entire process. In addition, the corresponding actuating technologies responsible for applying various measures (e.g. irrigation, fertilization) need to become more precise and allow variable rate inputs with a resolution down to an individual plant. However, the existing sensing and actuating (S&A) technologies have reached their limits and new avenues of research need to be addressed.
Recently, metamaterials and metasurfaces as two-dimensional (2-D) class of metamaterials, have emerged as a paradigm for arbitrary manipulation of EM waves, and thus as media which supports non-conventional propagation. Composed of specifically designed arrays of meta-atoms, metasurfaces can alter every aspect of light beams. These alterations are very sensitive to small changes in the surrounding media, which makes metasurfaces a very promising platform for sensing applications. On the other hand, acoustic non-conventional concepts including acoustic spoof propagation (ASP) and acoustic metasurfaces recently emerged as promising candidates to overcome the drawbacks of conventional acoustic sensors. Namely, they are very sensitive to change in the parameters of the surrounding media, and thus they represent novel paradigms promising for advanced sensing solutions.

NOCTURNO brings together a consortium with specific expertise in the fields listed above and creates synergies that advances two promising research directions for sensing applications - non-conventional EM/optical and acoustic propagation and supports their transformation into innovative products.

The objectives of the project are:
1. To advance high-impact multidisciplinary scientific knowledge through international and intersectoral collaboration on four related predefined research topics:
1a. Sensors based on non-conventional propagation of acoustic waves with the aim to develop new generation of sensors needed in agriculture such as various gas sensors.
1b. Actuators based on non-conventional propagation of acoustic waves with the aim to develop novel drip irrigation systems capable of delivering water to arbitrarily selected individual plant;
1c. EM/optical sensors based on metasurfaces with the aim to develop novel biosensors,
1d. Advanced manufacturing technologies including 3D printing, laser-micromachining technology, focused ion beam and e-beam lithography with the aim to provide practical solutions for the fabrication of novel acoustic and metasurface-based sensors and actuators.
2. To foster the creation of innovations and concrete products needed to address burning challenges in the agrifood sector today
3. To enable researchers to acquire new soft skills, support their career development and empower them to actively take part in shaping Europe’s future
4. To disseminate NOCTURNO achievements to the widest audiences thus ensuring its maximal impact

The major outcomes of the project are the prototypes of sensors and an actuator, together with the new fundamental knowledge. During the whole project duration, 15 prototypes have been proposed, while there have been more than 20 advanced topics that have been investigated. We have realized 92.14 PMs during the whole project implementation, while 35 journal, 17 conference papers, and 1 book chapter have been published. Four workshops were organized together with six internal trainings devoted to scientific and soft skills. Dissemination activities ensured a strong dissemination of the project results and their high visibility. The project website and social media accounts were launched in M1 of the project, where the website has had around 50 thousand visits by almost 22 thousand visitors during the whole project duration.
In the whole project duration, 92.14 PMs have been realized, while 35 journal, 17 conference papers, and 1 book chapter have been published. 15 prototypes have been proposed and more than 20 advanced topics have been investigated.

Four workshops were organized during the project implementation in which various scientific topics were covered. Moreover, six internal trainings were organized, dedicated to both scientific and soft skills. During the project implementation, NOCTURNO researchers were exposed to 61 external trainings and 49 trainings during secondments, which helped the researchers to acquire skills that will be widely exploited, not only in NOCTURNO project, but also in their future careers. The researchers participated in 34 conferences related to NOCTURNO project.

A number of dissemination activities have been performed to ensure a high visibility of the project. The project website and social media accounts were launched in M1 of the project, and in total, there were around 22 thousand visitors and around 50 thousand visits to the website. We have realized project brochure at the beginning of the project and a leaflet in M64 of the project, while there were two promotional packages released. Also, nine press releases, radio and tv appearances were achieved. The project team gave five invited talks on conferences and seminars and NOCTURNO personnel participated in 34 relevant scientific conferences. There were also several face-to-face meetings and interactions with other H2020/HE projects. Four NOCTURNO workshops were organized and the events brought together distinguished speakers to present the major results of the project, and it was also a unique opportunity to get acquainted with the latest achievements in electromagnetic and acoustic metamaterials and their application in sensing and actuating technologies.

The project brought various exploitable assets. Besides fundamental knowledge and sensor prototypes, we have also come up with some advanced manufacturing methods for optical and acoustic devices. Owing to the trainings, soft skills of the researchers have been improved.
During the whole project duration, 15 prototypes have been proposed, while there have been more than 20 advanced topics that have been investigated. The potential impact of the project is manifold. The understanding of non-conventional propagation of EM/optical and acoustic waves presents a new fundamental knowledge readily applicable in S&A applications, but also in a number of other fields such as communications, wireless power transmission or cloaking, thus bringing benefits to many disciplines. Moreover, the project has educated a new generation of researchers capable of combining different disciplines and turning research results into prototypes and products. Also, the novel fundamental knowledge has been used to develop new sensors and actuators prototypes, thus offering advanced technological solutions for agriculture, environmental protection, and health. In addition, international and intersectoral secondments enabled staff members to exchange knowledge in advanced scientific fields and boundary disciplines, and seconded researchers and in particular ESRs, gained a unique multidisciplinarity at the individual level.
NOCTURNO project logo
Main outcomes of the project