Special Issue "State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Italy 2014"


A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "State-of-the-Art Sensors Technologies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2014

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Stefano Mariani
Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile e Ambientale, Politecnico di Milano, Piazza L. da Vinci 32, 20133 Milano, Italy
Website: http://www.dica.polimi.it/en/
E-Mail: stefano.mariani@polimi.it
Phone: +39 02 2399 4279
Fax: +39 02 2399 4300
Interests: MEMS; structural sensors; kalman filtering

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The aim of this special issue is to provide a comprehensive view on the state-of-the-art sensors technology in Italy. Research articles are solicited which will provide a consolidated state-of-the-art in this area. The Special Issue will publish those full research, review and high rated manuscripts addressing the above topic.

Dr. Stefano Mariani
Guest Editor


Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sensors is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs).


  • biosensors
  • chemical sensors
  • physical sensors
  • remote sensing sensors
  • sensor networks

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Displaying article 1-5
p. 18096-18113
by , , , , ,  and
Sensors 2014, 14(10), 18096-18113; doi:10.3390/s141018096
Received: 1 August 2014; in revised form: 9 September 2014 / Accepted: 16 September 2014 / Published: 29 September 2014
Show/Hide Abstract | PDF Full-text (5978 KB)
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Italy 2014)
p. 17471-17490
by , ,  and
Sensors 2014, 14(9), 17471-17490; doi:10.3390/s140917471
Received: 28 July 2014; in revised form: 28 August 2014 / Accepted: 5 September 2014 / Published: 18 September 2014
Show/Hide Abstract | PDF Full-text (14043 KB)
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Italy 2014)
p. 16017-16034
by , , ,  and
Sensors 2014, 14(9), 16017-16034; doi:10.3390/s140916017
Received: 3 July 2014; in revised form: 11 August 2014 / Accepted: 20 August 2014 / Published: 28 August 2014
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Italy 2014)
abstract graphic
p. 15900-15913
by , , , , , , ,  and
Sensors 2014, 14(9), 15900-15913; doi:10.3390/s140915900
Received: 25 June 2014; in revised form: 31 July 2014 / Accepted: 14 August 2014 / Published: 27 August 2014
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Italy 2014)
p. 12114-12126
by , ,  and
Sensors 2014, 14(7), 12114-12126; doi:10.3390/s140712114
Received: 13 May 2014; in revised form: 19 June 2014 / Accepted: 2 July 2014 / Published: 8 July 2014
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Type of Paper: Article
Rational Design of a Protein Based Calcium Sensor Coupled to a Bioelectric Transducer
DiFrancesco, M., Gazzarrini, S., Thiel, G. and Moroni, A
Department of Biosciences, University of Milan; E-Mail: anna.moroni@unimi.it
By modular molecular-engineering, we have created a synthetic protein that perceives changes in the cellular concentration of calcium and converts them into electrical signals by means of an ion channel transducer unit. The well-known calcium binding protein, calmodulin and its interacting peptide M13, have been linked by rational design to the soluble domains of the potassium (K+) channel Kcv. After several rounds of construct optimization, we have obtained a functional chimeric channel that responds to cytosolic calcium increase with a one to three folds increase in current. Given the remarkably high degree of intrinsic stability of Kcv channels, our biosensor represents not only a proof of concept but also a sensible prototype for future bioelectronic components.

Type of Paper: Article
Hyperspectral Imaging for Quality Assessment in Waste Recycling: Fundamentals
Giuseppe Bonifazi and Silvia Serranti
Department of Chemical Engineering, Materials & Environment, Sapienza - University of Rome – Via Eudossiana, 18 00184, Italy. Email: silvia.serranti@uniroma1.it, phone:+390644585360; fax: +390644585618
A fast, reliable and low cost characterization of solid waste products as fed to a recycling process, and/or resulting from different processing actions, represents one of the most challenging targets in the recycling sector. Today, thanks to the strong technological development, different techniques are available according to different sampling strategies and analytical principles to detect specific physical-chemical attributes of solid waste particles. They represent the key factor to perform a full process monitoring and/or to apply specific control/tuning actions on the process itself. The attributes can be determined off-line (e.g. sample collection and laboratory scale analyses) or on-line (i.e. direct collection of the information of interest from the particle flow stream). In this paper, the principles and the possibilities offered by the adoption of specialized devices allowing to develop on-line acquisition/processing strategies, based on HyperSpectral Imaging (HSI) and finalized to perform solid waste streams characterization, inspection and quality control actions, are investigated and discussed.

Type of Paper: Article
Hyperspectral Imaging for Quality Assessment in Waste Recycling: Case Studies
Giuseppe Bonifazi and Silvia Serranti
Department of Chemical Engineering, Materials & Environment, Sapienza - University of Rome – Via Eudossiana, 18 00184, Italy. Email: silvia.serranti@uniroma1.it, phone:+390644585360; fax: +390644585618
The possibility to systematically utilize HyperSpectral Imaging (HSI) techniques for the classification/inspection of both materials to recycle and/or products resulting from solid waste processing, of different origin and nature, can open new interesting scenarios. Results demonstrated as this technique can represent a very powerful and promising analytical tool to develop inspection/control strategies at processing level, in the recycling sector, and for the design and set up of innovative on-line quality control strategies, enabling a full certification of the recovered products. Despite these advantages, HSI is still difficult to be systematically applied, especially in real-time industrial applications, because of the huge amount of data constituting a spectral image. In this paper, different applications of HSI techniques, with reference to the solid waste recycling sector are presented and critically analyzed.

Type of Paper:Article
Title: Mapping asbestos-cement roofing with hyperspectral remote sensing over a large mountain region of Italian Western Alps
Authors: Federico FRASSY 1, Gabriele CANDIANI 2, Pieralberto MAIANTI 1, Andrea MARCHESI 1, Francesco ROTA NODARI 1, Giorgio DALLA VIA 1, Carlo ALBONICO 3, Marco GIANINETTO 1,*
(*) corresponding author
Affiliations: 1 Laboratory of Remote Sensing (L@RS), Politecnico di Milano - Department of Architecture, Built Environment and Construction Engineering (ABC), Via Ponzio 31, 20133 Milano, ITALY; ; E-Mail: marco.gianinetto@polimi.it
2 Optical Remote Sensing Group, IREA-CNR, via Bassini 15, 20133 Milano, ITALY
3 ARPA Valle d’Aosta, Loc. Grande Charrière, 44 11020 Saint-Christophe (AO), ITALY
Abstract: The World Health Organization estimates that 100 thousand people in the world die each year from asbestos-related cancers and more than 300 thousand European citizens are expected to die from asbestos-related mesothelioma by 2030. Both the European and the Italian legislations have banned the manufacture, importation, processing and distribution in commerce of asbestos-containing products and have recommended action plans for the safe removal of asbestos from public and private buildings. This paper describes the quantitative mapping of asbestos-cement covers over a large mountainous region of Italian Western Alps using the Multispectral Infrared and Visible Imaging Spectrometer sensor. A very large data set made up of 70 airborne transect strips covering 3,263 km2 were imaged and processed for supporting the mapping of buildings with asbestos-cement roofing promoted by the Valle d’Aosta Autonomous Region with the support of the Regional Environmental Protection Agency. Results showed an overall mapping accuracy of 80%, in terms of asbestos-cement surface detected. The influence of topography on the classification’s accuracy suggested that even in high relief landscapes, the spatial resolution of data is the major source of errors and the smaller asbestos-cement covers were not detected or misclassified.

Type of Paper: Article
Title: Design and Application of New Marine Low Cost Physical and Bio-Optical Instruments
Authors: M. Marcelli, V. Piermattei, A. Madonia, U. Mainardi
Affiliations: Laboratory of Experimental Oceanology and Marine Ecology, DEB, University of Tuscia; E-Mail: marcomarcell@unitus.it
Abstract: The development of low cost instrumentation plays a key role in marine environmental field and represents one of the most innovative aspects of oceanographic research. This kind of devices can be available for several applications, from vertical profilers to stand alone systems and can be installed on different platforms (buoys, Voluntary Observing Ships, underwater vehicles, etc.). The availability of low cost technologies enables the realization of extended observatory networks for the study of marine physical and bio-optical processes through an integrated approach merging in situ observations, forecasting models and remotely sensed data. This paper presents new low cost sensors and probes developed to measure marine temperature, conductivity, chlorophyll a and CDOM (Chromophoric Dissolved Organic Matter) fluorescence, focusing on sensing strategies, general architecture, laboratory trials, in situ tests and comparison with standard instruments. Furthermore the expendable, vertical profiler and stand alone applications of this technological development, tested during several oceanographic surveys in Mediterranean Sea, are reported.

Type of Paper: Article
: Design Concepts, Fabrication and Advanced Characterization Methods of Innovative Piezolecetric Sensors Based on ZnO Nanowires
: Rodolfo Araneo1, Antonio Rinaldi2, Andrea Notargiacomo4, Fabiano Bini3, Marialilia Pea4, Salvatore Celozzi1, Franco Marinozzi3, Giampiero Lovat1
1 Electrical Engineering Division of DIAEE, University of Rome “Sapienza,” Rome, 00184 Rome, Italy
2 International Research Center for Mathematics & Mechanics of Complex Systems, University of L’Aquila, 04012 Cisterna di Latina (LT), Italy, and with ENEA, Research Center Casaccia, 00123 Rome, Italy
3 Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department – DIMA, University of Rome “Sapienza,” 00184 Rome, Italy; E-Mail: franco.marinozzi@uniroma1.it
4 Institute for Photonics and Nanotechnology – CNR, 00156 Rome, Italy
Nanoscale structured materials based on Zinc Oxide are attractive for applications in nano-arrays of addressable electronics and photonics sensors, due to their outstanding properties including semiconductivity, piezoelectricity, pyroelectricity, direct bandgap, biocompatibility. Besides their average response, it is crucial to experimentally characterize and then accurately model the specific electrical and piezoelectric properties of single ZnO nanostructures to assess the quality of the materials and their performances. In this paper, we report on FIB machined high aspect ratio nanowires and their mechanical and electrical (by means of C-AFM) characterization. Then we investigate the suitability of new power law design concepts to accurately model the relevant electrical and mechanical size-effects whose existence has been emphasized in recent reviews.

Type of Paper: Review
Title: MEMS Sensors Technology in Italy: Industrial Products and Research Activities
Authors: Gastone Ciuti , Leonardo Ricotti , Arianna Menciassi and Paolo Dario
Affiliation: The BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy; E-Mail: g.ciuti@sssup.it These authors contributed equally to this paper.
Abstract: Over the past few decades the increased level of awareness within health, environment and energy has created an emerging need for smart sensors technologies and monitoring devices that sense, classify, and provide automated feedback to users’ health status, physical activities, environment conditions and energy in a pervasive, accurate and reliable fashion. Monitoring and precisely quantifying users’ physical activity with inertial measurement unit-based devices, for instance, has also proven to be important in the health management of patients with chronic diseases, e.g. Parkinson's disease, many of which have become highly prevalent in Italy and in the western world. The proposed review paper will focus on MEMS sensors technology developed in Italy in the last 3 years describing the market products and research implementations and developments for sports and health, environment and energy, in addition to smart system integration. Industrial products developed by Italian companies leaders in MEMS and sensors technologies and innovative and smart integrated solutions and sensing devices pursued and implemented by Italian research centres will be presented, highlighting the applications, principles and adopted technological solutions. For health, sports, environment and energy the paper presents the future perspective of sensors technology and exploitations in Italy.

Title: Optical Sensors for Solar Pointing
Authors: Daniela Fontani, Paola Sansoni, Franco Francini and David Jafrancesco
Affliation: CNR-INO Istituto Nazionale di Ottica, Largo E. Fermi, 6 - Firenze - 50125 - Italy; E-Mail: paola.sansoni@ino.it Abstract:
Every optical system for sunlight collection requires tracking the sun in its movement. Some sun tracking methodologies are discussed with a specific attention to their application and practical realization. The working principle includes a double guiding system that uses two complementary procedures. The first one provides the preliminary orientation, then the second realizes the fine positioning and adjustments. The first tracking system is of passive type and it drives the motors to correctly orient the collector every day of the year. The second one is of active type and it employs an optical pointing system. This is an original, simple and effective technique to perform the sun tracking. The core of the active tracking system is the sun finder. Two types of pointing devices are presented discussing in detail working principle and practical use. The most precise sensor is suitable for solar concentrators coupled to optical fibers or tiny PV cells; while the other device is appropriate for one-axis tracking collectors. All sensors were tested in laboratory, under controlled and reproducible conditions, to provide an optical characterization of the devices. To complete the experimentation, the pointing sensors were tested on out-door tracking systems, assessing their performance in operative conditions.

Type of Paper: Review
Title: Towed Undulating Vehicles: High Resolution Ocean Observing Platforms to Describe Water Column Ecosystems
Authors: Marco Marcelli, Viviana Piermattei, Andrea Pannocchi
Affiliation: Laboratory of Experimental Oceanology and Marine Ecology, University of Tuscia, Italy; E-Mails: marcomarcell@unitus.it; v.piermattei@unitus.it; a.pannocchi@unitus.it
Abstract: The oceans, which cover more than 70% of the Earth's surface, play a key role both in terms of climate and production of biological resources. The first 200 meters of the water column, typically being the depth to which light penetrates, host a high proportion of biological processes (such as primary production, larvae dispersion, etc.) and many physical phenomena regulating the energy exchange between atmosphere and oceans (such as heat fluxes, wind-waves system, etc.). Many of these processes present a very high spatial and temporal variability, for which the traditional measuring methods of oceanography are not always adequate to detect and describe accurately. For this reason, over the last 100 years and especially from the 70s onwards, ship-towed vehicles have been developed. Many developments and different technological solutions have been made, and now, towed undulating vehicles are regarded as the best measurement platforms to describe phenomena of high spatial and temporal variability. Focusing on italian developments, this article traces the history of the towed undulating vehicles, from their origins to the latest technological developments, presenting different applications, original data and finally, it takes stock of future developments and uses.

Type of Paper: Article
Title: Exploiting performances of MEMS accelerometers, Kinect range cameras and GPS receivers for kinematic monitoring: preliminary comparisons and possible integration
Authors: Elisa Benedetti, Roberta Ravanelli, Andrea Nascetti, Mattia Crespi
Affiliations: Area di Geodesia e Geomatica – DICEA – Università di Roma “La Sapienza”; E-Mails: elisa.benedetti@uniroma1.it; roberta.ravanelli@uniroma1.it; andrea.nascetti@uniroma1.it; mattia.crespi@uniroma1.it
Abstract: In this paper we address the problem of fast oscillations monitoring using several sensors based on very different technologies: MEMS accelerometer (STMicroelectronics LIS3LV02DQ sensor), Microsoft Kinect range camera (both sensors are low-cost), high-cost Leica Viva GPS receiver and low-cost Ublox GPS receiver. Several indoor and outdoor tests were performed using a vibrating table in order to assess and compare the accuracy of the retrieved motion parameters (accelerations, velocities and displacements). In particular, accelerometer, GPS receivers and a specific target especially designed to be tracked by Kinect were placed over the vibrating table, while the range camera was located at different distances and position. In order to obtain the kinematic information of interest, we used a dedicated software tool to retrieve displacements from Kinect data, VADASE (Variometric Approach for Displacements Analysis Stand-Alone Engine) software to estimate velocities from GPS receiver while accelerations were directly provided by MEMS accelerometer. The Kinect tracking tool and the software VADASE were both developed at the Geodesy and Geomatics Division of the University of Rome “La Sapienza”. The comparison between the performances for each of the four sensors was carried out through a least squares estimation of the motion parameters. Overall, the obtained results are quite promising for a possible integration of the four sensors, in particular the low-cost ones, devoted to real time monitoring.

Last update: 18 September 2014

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