Available technologies, Clean Technologies, Electrical and Electronic components, Engineering, Environement, Information and communications technology (ICT), Telecommunication

NOVEL COST EFFECTIVE MANUFACTURING PROCESS FOR ENVIRONMENT SENSORS

Simplifying the manufacturing process to reduce the cost of environment sensors

Challenge in environment sensors

  • Environmental sensors market is expected to reach USD 2.19 Billion by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 9.9% between 2018 and 2023 (MarketsandMarketsTM)
  • A sensor is a converter that measures a physical quantity and converts it into a signal which can be read
  • Environment sensors measure humidity, temperature, and gases. They have many uses in the industry including air quality monitoring, gas sensing, and potential emerging applications such as hydrogen fuel cells and combustion batteries
  • Dielectric resonators are a good choice for gas sensing because of their large surface area and sensitivity to the external environment
  • The relative permittivity of the dielectric resonator changes according to the concentration of the target gas, based on which dielectric resonators function as gas sensor
  • It should be of concern that common cylindrical dielectric resonators in millimeter-wave frequency band become difficult to machine because their dimensions are impractically small when used in the conventional TE or TM modes
  • The majority of commercial sensor technologies (catalytic, thermal, MOx, MOS, optical) are based on complex fabrication processes

New microwave resonator sensor design

  • The invention is a new fabrication process for environment sensors that drastically reduces the cost by simplifying the production process, while preserving the sensor’s sensitivity
  • It is based on a new generation of electromagnetic devices integrated to the substrate
  • The sensor contains a resonating cavity integrated in its substrate. This cavity is filled with a dielectric which is selective to the substance to detect
  • The detection principle is thus based on the change in permittivity of the detecting material in the presence of the substance to detect. This variation induces a frequency shift that is easy to detect
  • Various detecting materials can easily be integrated on a single fabrication unit thus reducing costs. The proposed technology can also be used with wired or wireless sensors
  • We estimate the following parameters: Estimated threshold for hydrogen detection around 100ppm, fabrication cost of less than 10$, energy consumption of around 1mW for the sensor component, size of current prototype is 3cm X 3cm but could be decreased to 1cm x 1cm
  • Only the functional material used affect the sensor’s longevity, which is estimated at 40,000 hours for hydrogen detection
  • Technology developed by Frédéric Domingue and Hatem El Matbouly (Department of Electrical and computer Engineering, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR))
3D structure of a microwave resonator of a substrate-integrated waveguide sensor

Competitive advantages 

  • Novel production method for the proposed sensors
  • Possibility to manufacture with most actual technologies (PCB, LTCC, printable electronics, etc.)
  • Many applications due to the generic and flexible technology used
  • Our analysis of the manufacturing cost of sensors based on this new technology indicates a significant cost reduction

Market applications

Several potential industrial, commercial, residential, and emerging applications exist, such as:

  • Air quality monitoring
  • Gas sensing
  • Hydrogen applications
  • Combustion batteries

Business opportunity

  • Granted US patent 9,625,366
  • Technology available for licensing

CONTACT

If you are interested by this technology, please contact :
Jean-Philippe Valois, Director Business Development, Engineering
jpvalois@aligo.ca, (514) 575-0425

UNIVERSITY

Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR)

Main inventors

domingue_frederic

Frederic Domingue, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department

Prof. Domingue received the B.Eng. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the Ecole de Technologie Superieure, Montreal, QC, Canada, in 2004 and 2008, respectively. From 2007 to 2008, he was a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Integrated Radio Frequency Engineering (CIRFE), University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada. In 2009, he joined the Radio Frequency Devices Laboratory (LCRF), Department for Heterogeneous Integration on Silicon, CEA-LETI, Grenoble, France, as a Postdoctoral Fellow. He is currently Professor with the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Québec, Canada. He holds the Canada Research Chair in Radio Frequency Technologies for Gas Detection. He manages a research laboratory working on RF sensors design, characterization, and fabrication at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières. His current research interests include RF technologies and components for sensing applications