Sensor Technology

Technical sensor systems

Printed interdigital structure
© Fraunhofer IFAM

Printed interdigital structure

In many applications, sensors and sensor systems record and evaluate the status of various technical systems. For some applications, the integration of sensors can be realized using printed or sputtered sensor structures or using polymer-metal hybrid materials.

Promising technologies - Printed sensor structures

Not only can the individual geometry of a printed sensor be optimized but also its position. This is of particular interest for the structural monitoring of components by the integration of strain gages. The sensors can be designed and optimally positioned for the expected mechanical loads using various simulation methods.

Printed sensors can also be used for the optical and electrochemical detection of gases. Gas sensors based on printed metal oxide semiconductors can be used, for example, as air quality sensors. In the life science area, miniature sensors allow the detection of small changes via printed biofunctionalized sensor structures.

Sputtered sensor structures

Depending on the requirements and area of application, sensor elements manufactured using sputter technology and masks are employed. For example, sputtered hydrogen sensors are employed for the detection of small quantities of hydrogen. In contrast, integrated sputtered thin film thermocouples are used for very precise temperature measurement.

Use of polymer-metal hybrid materials

The structural monitoring of components can also be performed using intrinsic sensory composite materials. Flexible elastomers with a high metal filler content are used for this.