Project Description: This project aims to develop a carbon nanotube-based (CNTs) chemiresistive sensor to monitor the ammonia (NH3) gas produced by the gut microbiota inside the colon bioreactors in in-vitro systems. The human gastrointestinal (GI) gases are closely related to diverse pathological disorders, and therefore can be used as a potential health assessment tool. Additionally, GI gases can be correlated with other important bacteria fermentation byproducts such as Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA), which are the main indicators of microbial activity and functionality. The advantage of using CNTs gas sensors instead of bulky and costly analytical techniques is that they are low cost, easy to fabricate, and can work at room temperature in real-time. The aim of the project is divided into the following objectives:
► Development and fabrication of carbon nanotubes based NH3 sensors using different printing techniques
► Development and characterization of carbon nanotubes based NH3 sensors on a simple Simulator of the Human Microbial Ecosystem (SHIME) in collaboration with the Micro4Food lab
Project Description: Single-Photon Avalanche Diodes (SPAD) are one of the most promising Si-based optical sensors for their low-cost mass production, small size, low power consumption and low working bias. By contrary, SPADs have low sensitivity to long-wavelength photons (>Near-IR), limiting their possible applications. In this research project, conducted in collaboration with the researchers of the Center of Materials and Microsystem (CMM) at Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK) in Trento, to overcome this problem is suggested to couple a Si-based SPAD with a metallic nano-grating supporting Surface Plasmon Polaritons (SPPs). Therefore, confining incident photons in the superficial layer of the device, increasing the absorption probability. The project is composed of three parts:
► Simulation of different nano-grating structure
► Production in clean rooms laboratories of the optimal structure on a SPAD
► Electro-optical characterization to evaluate the enhancement
Project Description: The recent achievements in flexible electronics have made it possible to integrate the modular sensors and actuators in the form of smart wearables. The applications of such smart wearables vary from controlling (prosthetics) to monitoring (vital signs) purpose. The use of smart wearables has been discussed in sports and rescuing activities. The issue with such smart wearables is its energy requirement. While batteries can limit the duration of working, we need to find out the ways to make the wearable self-sufficient on its energy needs. This project in collaboration with EURAC Research is mainly focused to develop flexible and integrate-able energy harvesting and energy storing devices. This will be done by performing the following tasks:
► Developing an energy harvesting device based on Triboelectric phenomenon
► Energy storing devices based on flexible super-capacitors
► Integrating the devices with sensors in a smart wearable
Project Description: Precision Agriculture is a concept of Smart Farm Management, in order to increase crop yield and reduce the environmental impacts, primarily cause by over-fertilization and over-flooding. Currently, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) mapping is a key tool for Precision Agriculture, due to its ability to provide information about the rate of vegetation. Nevertheless, state-of-the-art NDVI maps do not allow visualization of soil areas based on pH and irregular distribution of nutrients across the land. Therefore farmers can detect crop stress only based on the rate of vegetation, but they can’t quickly diagnose whether stress is due to pests or low levels of soil nutrients. This is why the primary aim of this PhD project is to develop a low-cost wireless sensors system. To develop a complete sensors system (which will consist of PH, Moisture, Humidity and NPK sensors ) below mentioned points will be considered:
► Biodegradable material as a substrate will be utilized for the sake of preventing negative environmental impacts.
► The interdigitated electrode (IDEs) structure will be simulated in COMSOL Multiphysics while the antenna designing & simulation will be done in CST Microwave studio for energy harvesting and communication.
► For sensors fabrication, inkjet and screen printing techniques will be used.
Project Description: Over the past few years, wearable technology has emerged as a major component of the lifestyle and fitness markets, mostly in the form of smart bands and smartwatches. Nevertheless, state-of-the-art measurement systems for the evaluation of athletic performance still rely on bulky and cumbersome instrumentation. Being part of the “STEX” project, in collaboration with Microgate Srl, this PhD project is aimed at the design, fabrication and characterization of real-time wearable solutions to monitor the muscles’ activity, to provide immediate feedback to the athlete about their physiological status. Three approaches will be pursued: monitoring of the respiratory rate using strain sensors, analysis of sweat using biochemical sensors and analysis of the gas emitted from the skin using gas sensors. Such sensors will be fabricated combining conventional microfabrication technologies and printing techniques, in the form of low-cost, non-invasive, sensitive and selective sensing platforms that will be ultimately integrated in textiles and garments.
The main parts of the project will be:
► Design and characterization of the sensors in laboratory environment
► Integration of such sensors in wearable platforms
► Validation of the wearable platforms through human trials in real-life situations
Project Description: Sensing technologies are the basic perception layer of the so called “Agriculture 4.0”, a novel and fast-growing agricultural revolution playing a promising role in enhancing sustainable farming. There is a need for a more efficient real-time in planta sensing technology to enable a continuous analysis that enables an early-stage stress detection thus an early-solving intervention that lead to a yield increase without compromising environmental resources. Although many approaches have been used, these methods have some drawbacks (eg. weak specificity, expensive or not suitable for continuous monitoring).
The main goal of this PhD project is to develop an electrical sensor, mainly noninvasive, selective to detect specific plant stress and biocompatible relying on specific materials.
Project Description: The project aims to develop a biosensor capable of detecting the presence of Campylobacter in food samples. Campylobacter, in fact, is the microorganism that causes the highest number of food poisoning of bacterial origin in Europe and America, causing about one third of all bacterial foodborne illnesses.
Project Description: The aim of this research is to develop a low cost, and low energy sensor platform for field monitoring of crop stress conditions for precision agriculture, Precision management of resources is essential in modern societies as feeding is part of the basic needs of human beings. With the increasing world population, the importance of advancements in farming in order to increase food production with high-productive and sustainable agriculture has been highlighted in society. Precision agriculture uses site-specific information to precisely deploy the resources based on the soil and crop characteristics unique to each part of the field. It uses IoT sensors with near and remote sensing techniques. Furthermore, using advanced techniques of the cyber-physical system will increase enable capability, adaptability, scalability, resiliency, safety, security, and usability.
The main parts of the project will be:
► Cloud computing
► IoT integration devices
► Smart farming techniques
Project Description: In order to increase the performance and compactness of gas sensing devices, this Ph.D. project aims the investigation of innovative functional nanomaterials to develop a new compact sensor that allows to detection of different gases with elevated selectivity and sensitivity. The system will be formed by two different components, the µ-fabricated system for the separation of the different gases and the sensor that allows detecting the single components. The integration of these two devices will allow us to obtain a compact integrated platform useful for different applications such as indoor and outdoor air quality monitoring, precision farming, and medical screening. The research project will be performed in three steps:
► Functionalization of the µ-fabricated device
► Developing of the gas sensor using nanoparticles as a sensing material
► Integration of the two systems to create an integrated gas sensor device