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Development of a Sensor with WIde Spectrum Sensitivity for MOnitoring of Damage and Defects In Composite Structures

Project description

Sensitive miniature camera for detecting damage and defects in aircraft composite structures

Shocks on an aircraft’s composite structure can cause delamination elsewhere on the aircraft. At the moment, the only way to detect delamination is through regular inspections that require the aircraft to be immobilised. To address this lack of efficient diagnostic tools, the EU-funded SWISSMODICS project aims to develop a miniature, ultra-thin camera that can be incorporated in the aircraft’s composite structure where there is a delamination risk. The camera, which will be sensitive to X-rays as well as visible and infrared light, will make diagnostics easier, reduce immobilisation time and allow in-flight diagnostics. The project will provide a breakthrough in the non-destructive testing of aircraft.


"Shocks on a composite structure of an aircraft can propagate and generate delamination at a distant place. There is currently no other method than regular inspection of the structure to detect these delamination, which requires to immobilize the aircraft. The SWISSMODICS project ambitions to answer the lack of efficient diagnostic tools by providing a miniature, ultra-thin camera to be incorporated in the composite structure of an aircraft where delamination risk to occur. This will considerably facilitate diagnostic and reduce immobilization time, even allowing in-operation diagnostic.

The SWISSMODICS project will develop a camera sensitive to X-ray, visible and infrared light. This will be achieved by creating a monolithic detector made of a CMOS pixel array with configurable pixels to the specificity of each wavelength range, covalently bonded to an absorber with areas sensitive to these 3 different wavelength ranges. The detector will be tested on a panel of section of fuselage in composite, with delamination defects representative of real defects.

The work will be executed by a consortium of 3 companies with complementary competences. CSEM, in Switzerland will develop the CMOS integrated circuit. G-ray, also in Switzerland, will develop the absorber with areas sensitive to different wavelength ranges and will perform wafer to wafer covalent bonding between the CMOS wafer and the absorber wafer. Finally, Almay, a French engineering company with experience in composites for the aeronautical applications, will provide guidance and will integrate and validate the detector on composite structures with defects.

This new sensor will be a breakthrough in non-destructive testing and will open the door to ""intelligent"" composite structures. In aeronautics, it will not only reduce immobilization time but also enable to reduce the security margin on composite parts thanks to continuous monitoring, resulting in economy of weight and fuel.


Net EU contribution
€ 790 387,00
Rue jaquet droz 1
2000 Neuchatel

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Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera Espace Mittelland Neuchâtel
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (3)