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Special Issue "State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Italy 2012"

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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: closed (20 September 2012)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Stefano Mariani

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Piazza L. da Vinci 32, 20133 Milano, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +39-0223994279
Fax: +39-0223994300
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

Keywords

  • biosensors
  • chemical sensors
  • physical sensors
  • remote sensing sensors

Published Papers (21 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle A New Mirroring Circuit for Power MOS Current Sensing Highly Immune to EMI
Sensors 2013, 13(2), 1856-1871; doi:10.3390/s130201856
Received: 8 November 2012 / Revised: 27 December 2012 / Accepted: 8 January 2013 / Published: 31 January 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (300 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper deals with the monitoring of power transistor current subjected to radio-frequency interference. In particular, a new current sensor with no connection to the power transistor drain and with improved performance with respect to the existing current-sensing schemes is presented. The operation
[...] Read more.
This paper deals with the monitoring of power transistor current subjected to radio-frequency interference. In particular, a new current sensor with no connection to the power transistor drain and with improved performance with respect to the existing current-sensing schemes is presented. The operation of the above mentioned current sensor is discussed referring to time-domain computer simulations. The susceptibility of the proposed circuit to radio-frequency interference is evaluated through time-domain computer simulations and the results are compared with those obtained for a conventional integrated current sensor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Italy 2012)
Open AccessArticle The Exploitation of Data from Remote and Human Sensors for Environment Monitoring in the SMAT Project
Sensors 2012, 12(12), 17504-17535; doi:10.3390/s121217504
Received: 21 September 2012 / Revised: 8 December 2012 / Accepted: 10 December 2012 / Published: 17 December 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (7921 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract The Exploitation of Data from Remote and Human Sensors for Environment Monitoring in the SMAT Project Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Italy 2012)
Open AccessArticle Prototypes of Newly Conceived Inorganic and Biological Sensors for Health and Environmental Applications
Sensors 2012, 12(12), 17112-17127; doi:10.3390/s121217112
Received: 8 October 2012 / Revised: 7 December 2012 / Accepted: 11 December 2012 / Published: 12 December 2012
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (417 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper describes the optimal implementation of three newly conceived sensors for both health and environmental applications, utilizing a wide range of detection methods and complex nanocomposites. The first one is inorganic and based on matrices of calcium oxide, the second is based
[...] Read more.
This paper describes the optimal implementation of three newly conceived sensors for both health and environmental applications, utilizing a wide range of detection methods and complex nanocomposites. The first one is inorganic and based on matrices of calcium oxide, the second is based on protein arrays and a third one is based on Langmuir-Blodgett laccase multi-layers. Special attention was paid to detecting substances significant to the environment (such as carbon dioxide) and medicine (drug administration, cancer diagnosis and prognosis) by means of amperometric, quartz crystal microbalance with frequency (QCM_F) and quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCM_D) technologies. The resulting three implemented nanosensors are described here along with proofs of principle and their corresponding applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Italy 2012)
Open AccessArticle Digital Sun Sensor Multi-Spot Operation
Sensors 2012, 12(12), 16451-16465; doi:10.3390/s121216451
Received: 10 September 2012 / Revised: 21 November 2012 / Accepted: 23 November 2012 / Published: 28 November 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (262 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The operation and test of a multi-spot digital sun sensor for precise sun-line determination is described. The image forming system consists of an opaque mask with multiple pinhole apertures producing multiple, simultaneous, spot-like images of the sun on the focal plane. The sun-line
[...] Read more.
The operation and test of a multi-spot digital sun sensor for precise sun-line determination is described. The image forming system consists of an opaque mask with multiple pinhole apertures producing multiple, simultaneous, spot-like images of the sun on the focal plane. The sun-line precision can be improved by averaging multiple simultaneous measures. Nevertheless, the sensor operation on a wide field of view requires acquiring and processing images in which the number of sun spots and the related intensity level are largely variable. To this end, a reliable and robust image acquisition procedure based on a variable shutter time has been considered as well as a calibration function exploiting also the knowledge of the sun-spot array size. Main focus of the present paper is the experimental validation of the wide field of view operation of the sensor by using a sensor prototype and a laboratory test facility. Results demonstrate that it is possible to keep high measurement precision also for large off-boresight angles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Italy 2012)
Open AccessArticle Applications of Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) for the Characterization of Nanoparticles Developed for Biomedical Purposes
Sensors 2012, 12(12), 16420-16432; doi:10.3390/s121216420
Received: 18 September 2012 / Revised: 30 October 2012 / Accepted: 22 November 2012 / Published: 27 November 2012
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (278 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Great interest is currently being devoted to the development of nanoparticles (NPs) for biomedical purposes, designed to improve the pharmacokinetic profile of their cargos (either imaging probes or drugs) and to enhance the specific targeting at the disease site. Recent works suggest that
[...] Read more.
Great interest is currently being devoted to the development of nanoparticles (NPs) for biomedical purposes, designed to improve the pharmacokinetic profile of their cargos (either imaging probes or drugs) and to enhance the specific targeting at the disease site. Recent works suggest that Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR), widely used for the analysis of biomolecular interactions, represents a technique of choice for rapid and quantitative analyses of the interaction between NPs—functionalized with specific ligands—and their putative biological targets. Moreover, SPR can provide important details on the formation and the role of the protein “corona”, i.e., the protein layer which coats NPs once they come into contact with biological fluids. These novel applications of SPR sensors may be very useful to characterize, screen and develop nanodevices for biomedical purposes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Italy 2012)
Open AccessArticle Assessment of Fluorescent Particles for Surface Flow Analysis
Sensors 2012, 12(11), 15827-15840; doi:10.3390/s121115827
Received: 9 October 2012 / Revised: 8 November 2012 / Accepted: 12 November 2012 / Published: 14 November 2012
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (824 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this paper, a systematic performance assessment of the measurement system for surface flow analysis developed by our group in (Tauro et al., Sensors, 2010) is presented. The system is based on the detection of buoyant fluorescent microspheres through alow-cost apparatus, which incorporates
[...] Read more.
In this paper, a systematic performance assessment of the measurement system for surface flow analysis developed by our group in (Tauro et al., Sensors, 2010) is presented. The system is based on the detection of buoyant fluorescent microspheres through alow-cost apparatus, which incorporates light sources to elicit fluorescence response and a digital camera to identify the particles' transit. Experiments are conducted using green fluorescent particles and further tests are executed to evaluate the system performance forred and orange particles varying in emission wavelength, degree of biocompatibility, and cost. The influence of the following parameters on surface flow sensing using fluorescent beads is investigated: (i) distance of the light sources from the water surface, (ii) presence of an ad-hoc filter tuned at the particle emission wavelength, (iii) camera resolution and frame rate, (iv) flow regime, and (v) ambient light. Experimental results are used to inform implementation guidelines for surface flow analysis in natural environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Italy 2012)
Open AccessArticle Experimental Characterization of a Flexible Thermal Slip Sensor
Sensors 2012, 12(11), 15267-15280; doi:10.3390/s121115267
Received: 8 October 2012 / Revised: 2 November 2012 / Accepted: 5 November 2012 / Published: 8 November 2012
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (763 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tactile sensors are needed for effectively controlling the interaction between a robotic hand and the environment, e.g., during manipulation of objects, or for the tactile exploration of unstructured environments, especially when other sensing modalities, such as vision or audition, become ineffective. In the
[...] Read more.
Tactile sensors are needed for effectively controlling the interaction between a robotic hand and the environment, e.g., during manipulation of objects, or for the tactile exploration of unstructured environments, especially when other sensing modalities, such as vision or audition, become ineffective. In the case of hand prostheses, mainly intended for dexterous manipulation of daily living objects, the possibility of quickly detecting slip occurrence, thus avoiding inadvertent falling of the objects, is prodromal to any manipulation task. In this paper we report on a slip sensor with no-moving parts, based on thermo-electrical phenomena, fabricated on a flexible substrate and suitable for integration on curved surfaces, such as robotic finger pads. Experiments performed using a custom made test bench, which is capable of generating controlled slip velocities, show that the sensor detects slip events in less than 50 ms. This response time is short enough for enabling future applications in the field of hand prosthetics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Italy 2012)
Open AccessArticle Performance of Eudragit Coated Whispering Gallery Mode Resonator-Based Immunosensors
Sensors 2012, 12(11), 14604-14611; doi:10.3390/s121114604
Received: 26 September 2012 / Revised: 24 October 2012 / Accepted: 25 October 2012 / Published: 30 October 2012
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (247 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Whispering gallery mode resonators (WGMR) are an efficient tool for the realization of optical biosensors. A high Q factor preservation is a crucial requirement for good biosensor performances. In this work we present an Eudragit®L100 coated microspherical WGMR as an efficient
[...] Read more.
Whispering gallery mode resonators (WGMR) are an efficient tool for the realization of optical biosensors. A high Q factor preservation is a crucial requirement for good biosensor performances. In this work we present an Eudragit®L100 coated microspherical WGMR as an efficient immunosensor. The developed resonator was morphologically characterized using fluorescence microscopy. The functionalization process was tuned to preserve the high Q factor of the resonator. The protein binding assay was optically characterized in terms of specificity in buffer solution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Italy 2012)
Open AccessArticle Physically-Based Reduced Order Modelling of a Uni-Axial Polysilicon MEMS Accelerometer
Sensors 2012, 12(10), 13985-14003; doi:10.3390/s121013985
Received: 6 August 2012 / Revised: 20 September 2012 / Accepted: 11 October 2012 / Published: 17 October 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1287 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this paper, the mechanical response of a commercial off-the-shelf, uni-axial polysilicon MEMS accelerometer subject to drops is numerically investigated. To speed up the calculations, a simplified physically-based (beams and plate), two degrees of freedom model of the movable parts of the sensor
[...] Read more.
In this paper, the mechanical response of a commercial off-the-shelf, uni-axial polysilicon MEMS accelerometer subject to drops is numerically investigated. To speed up the calculations, a simplified physically-based (beams and plate), two degrees of freedom model of the movable parts of the sensor is adopted. The capability and the accuracy of the model are assessed against three-dimensional finite element simulations, and against outcomes of experiments on instrumented samples. It is shown that the reduced order model provides accurate outcomes as for the system dynamics. To also get rather accurate results in terms of stress fields within regions that are prone to fail upon high-g shocks, a correction factor is proposed by accounting for the local stress amplification induced by re-entrant corners. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Italy 2012)
Open AccessArticle A Three-Axis Force Sensor for Dual Finger Haptic Interfaces
Sensors 2012, 12(10), 13598-13616; doi:10.3390/s121013598
Received: 27 July 2012 / Revised: 28 September 2012 / Accepted: 9 October 2012 / Published: 10 October 2012
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (1113 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this work we present the design process, the characterization and testing of a novel three-axis mechanical force sensor. This sensor is optimized for use in closed-loop force control of haptic devices with three degrees of freedom. In particular the sensor has been
[...] Read more.
In this work we present the design process, the characterization and testing of a novel three-axis mechanical force sensor. This sensor is optimized for use in closed-loop force control of haptic devices with three degrees of freedom. In particular the sensor has been conceived for integration with a dual finger haptic interface that aims at simulating forces that occur during grasping and surface exploration. The sensing spring structure has been purposely designed in order to match force and layout specifications for the application. In this paper the design of the sensor is presented, starting from an analytic model that describes the characteristic matrix of the sensor. A procedure for designing an optimal overload protection mechanism is proposed. In the last part of the paper the authors describe the experimental characterization and the integrated test on a haptic hand exoskeleton showing the improvements in the controller performances provided by the inclusion of the force sensor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Italy 2012)
Open AccessArticle Towards Autonomous Agriculture: Automatic Ground Detection Using Trinocular Stereovision
Sensors 2012, 12(9), 12405-12423; doi:10.3390/s120912405
Received: 6 August 2012 / Revised: 28 August 2012 / Accepted: 30 August 2012 / Published: 12 September 2012
Cited by 24 | PDF Full-text (7118 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Autonomous driving is a challenging problem, particularly when the domain is unstructured, as in an outdoor agricultural setting. Thus, advanced perception systems are primarily required to sense and understand the surrounding environment recognizing artificial and natural structures, topology, vegetation and paths. In this
[...] Read more.
Autonomous driving is a challenging problem, particularly when the domain is unstructured, as in an outdoor agricultural setting. Thus, advanced perception systems are primarily required to sense and understand the surrounding environment recognizing artificial and natural structures, topology, vegetation and paths. In this paper, a self-learning framework is proposed to automatically train a ground classifier for scene interpretation and autonomous navigation based on multi-baseline stereovision. The use of rich 3D data is emphasized where the sensor output includes range and color information of the surrounding environment. Two distinct classifiers are presented, one based on geometric data that can detect the broad class of ground and one based on color data that can further segment ground into subclasses. The geometry-based classifier features two main stages: an adaptive training stage and a classification stage. During the training stage, the system automatically learns to associate geometric appearance of 3D stereo-generated data with class labels. Then, it makes predictions based on past observations. It serves as well to provide training labels to the color-based classifier. Once trained, the color-based classifier is able to recognize similar terrain classes in stereo imagery. The system is continuously updated online using the latest stereo readings, thus making it feasible for long range and long duration navigation, over changing environments. Experimental results, obtained with a tractor test platform operating in a rural environment, are presented to validate this approach, showing an average classification precision and recall of 91.0% and 77.3%, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Italy 2012)
Open AccessArticle Use of a Combined SpO2/PtcCO2 Sensor in the Delivery Room
Sensors 2012, 12(8), 10980-10989; doi:10.3390/s120810980
Received: 12 June 2012 / Revised: 16 July 2012 / Accepted: 31 July 2012 / Published: 8 August 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (321 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Arterial oxygen saturation (SaO2) and partial arterial pressure of carbon dioxide (PaCO2) are important respiratory parameters in critically ill neonates. A sensor combining a pulse oximeter with the Stow-Severinghaus electrode, required for the measurement of peripheral oxygen saturation (SpO
[...] Read more.
Arterial oxygen saturation (SaO2) and partial arterial pressure of carbon dioxide (PaCO2) are important respiratory parameters in critically ill neonates. A sensor combining a pulse oximeter with the Stow-Severinghaus electrode, required for the measurement of peripheral oxygen saturation (SpO2) and transcutaneous partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PtcCO2), respectively, has been recently used in neonatal clinical practice (TOSCA500ÒRadiometer). We evaluated TOSCA usability and reliability in the delivery room (DR), throughout three different periods, on term, late-preterm, and preterm neonates. During the first period (period A), 30 healthy term neonates were simultaneously monitored with both TOSCA and a MASIMO pulse oximeter. During the second period (period B), 10 healthy late-preterm neonates were monitored with both TOSCA and a transcutaneous device measuring PtcCO2 (TINAÒ TCM3, Radiometer). During the third period (period C), 15 preterm neonates were monitored with TOSCA and MASIMO after birth, during stabilization, and during transport to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Blood gas analyses were performed to compare transcutaneous and blood gas values. TOSCA resulted easily and safely usable in the DR, allowing reliable noninvasive SaO2 estimation. Since PtcCO2 measurements with TOSCA required at least 10 min to be stable and reliable, this parameter was not useful during the early resuscitation immediately after birth. Moreover, PtcCO2 levels were less precise if compared to the conventional transcutaneous monitoring. However, PtcCO2 measurement by TOSCA was useful as trend-monitoring after stabilization and during transport to NICU. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Italy 2012)
Open AccessArticle Variable-State-Dimension Kalman-Based Filter for Orientation Determination Using Inertial and Magnetic Sensors
Sensors 2012, 12(7), 8491-8506; doi:10.3390/s120708491
Received: 18 May 2012 / Revised: 8 June 2012 / Accepted: 11 June 2012 / Published: 25 June 2012
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (438 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this paper a quaternion-based Variable-State-Dimension Extended Kalman Filter (VSD-EKF) is developed for estimating the three-dimensional orientation of a rigid body using the measurements from an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) integrated with a triaxial magnetic sensor. Gyro bias and magnetic disturbances are modeled
[...] Read more.
In this paper a quaternion-based Variable-State-Dimension Extended Kalman Filter (VSD-EKF) is developed for estimating the three-dimensional orientation of a rigid body using the measurements from an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) integrated with a triaxial magnetic sensor. Gyro bias and magnetic disturbances are modeled and compensated by including them in the filter state vector. The VSD-EKF switches between a quiescent EKF, where the magnetic disturbance is modeled as a first-order Gauss-Markov stochastic process (GM-1), and a higher-order EKF where extra state components are introduced to model the time-rate of change of the magnetic field as a GM-1 stochastic process, namely the magnetic disturbance is modeled as a second-order Gauss-Markov stochastic process (GM-2). Experimental validation tests show the effectiveness of the VSD-EKF, as compared to either the quiescent EKF or the higher-order EKF when they run separately. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Italy 2012)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview PTR-MS in Italy: A Multipurpose Sensor with Applications in Environmental, Agri-Food and Health Science
Sensors 2013, 13(9), 11923-11955; doi:10.3390/s130911923
Received: 5 July 2013 / Revised: 23 August 2013 / Accepted: 27 August 2013 / Published: 9 September 2013
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (936 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Proton Transfer Reaction Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS) has evolved in the last decade as a fast and high sensitivity sensor for the real-time monitoring of volatile compounds. Its applications range from environmental sciences to medical sciences, from food technology to bioprocess monitoring. Italian scientists
[...] Read more.
Proton Transfer Reaction Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS) has evolved in the last decade as a fast and high sensitivity sensor for the real-time monitoring of volatile compounds. Its applications range from environmental sciences to medical sciences, from food technology to bioprocess monitoring. Italian scientists and institutions participated from the very beginning in fundamental and applied research aiming at exploiting the potentialities of this technique and providing relevant methodological advances and new fundamental indications. In this review we describe this activity on the basis of the available literature. The Italian scientific community has been active mostly in food science and technology, plant physiology and environmental studies and also pioneered the applications of the recently released PTR-ToF-MS (Proton Transfer Reaction-Time of Flight-Mass Spectrometry) in food science and in plant physiology. In the very last years new results related to bioprocess monitoring and health science have been published as well. PTR-MS data analysis, particularly in the case of the ToF based version, and the application of advanced chemometrics and data mining are also aspects characterising the activity of the Italian community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Italy 2012)
Open AccessReview Low Frequency Electrical and Magnetic Methods for Non-Destructive Analysis of Fiber Dispersion in Fiber Reinforced Cementitious Composites: An Overview
Sensors 2013, 13(1), 1300-1318; doi:10.3390/s130101300
Received: 22 October 2012 / Revised: 16 January 2013 / Accepted: 19 January 2013 / Published: 21 January 2013
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (856 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Non-destructive analysis of fiber dispersion in structural elements made of Fiber Reinforced Concrete (FRC) and Fiber Reinforced Cementitious Composites (FRCCs) plays a significant role in the framework of quality control and performance prediction. In this paper, the research activity of the authors in
[...] Read more.
Non-destructive analysis of fiber dispersion in structural elements made of Fiber Reinforced Concrete (FRC) and Fiber Reinforced Cementitious Composites (FRCCs) plays a significant role in the framework of quality control and performance prediction. In this paper, the research activity of the authors in the aforementioned field all over the last lustrum will be reviewed. A method based on the measurement of the inductance of a probe to be placed on the specimen will be presented and its progressive development will be described. Obtained correlation with actual fiber dispersion, as checked by means of destructive methods, as well as with the mechanical performance of the composite will also be presented, in an attempt to address the significance of the method from an engineering application perspective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Italy 2012)
Open AccessReview A Flexible Sensor Technology for the Distributed Measurement of Interaction Pressure
Sensors 2013, 13(1), 1021-1045; doi:10.3390/s130101021
Received: 1 November 2012 / Revised: 8 January 2013 / Accepted: 8 January 2013 / Published: 15 January 2013
Cited by 26 | PDF Full-text (2061 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We present a sensor technology for the measure of the physical human-robot interaction pressure developed in the last years at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna. The system is composed of flexible matrices of opto-electronic sensors covered by a soft silicone cover. This sensory system is
[...] Read more.
We present a sensor technology for the measure of the physical human-robot interaction pressure developed in the last years at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna. The system is composed of flexible matrices of opto-electronic sensors covered by a soft silicone cover. This sensory system is completely modular and scalable, allowing one to cover areas of any sizes and shapes, and to measure different pressure ranges. In this work we present the main application areas for this technology. A first generation of the system was used to monitor human-robot interaction in upper- (NEUROExos; Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna) and lower-limb (LOPES; University of Twente) exoskeletons for rehabilitation. A second generation, with increased resolution and wireless connection, was used to develop a pressure-sensitive foot insole and an improved human-robot interaction measurement systems. The experimental characterization of the latter system along with its validation on three healthy subjects is presented here for the first time. A perspective on future uses and development of the technology is finally drafted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Italy 2012)
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Open AccessReview Adaptive Optics Technology for High-Resolution Retinal Imaging
Sensors 2013, 13(1), 334-366; doi:10.3390/s130100334
Received: 13 October 2012 / Revised: 5 December 2012 / Accepted: 6 December 2012 / Published: 27 December 2012
Cited by 33 | PDF Full-text (3410 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Adaptive optics (AO) is a technology used to improve the performance of optical systems by reducing the effects of optical aberrations. The direct visualization of the photoreceptor cells, capillaries and nerve fiber bundles represents the major benefit of adding AO to retinal imaging.
[...] Read more.
Adaptive optics (AO) is a technology used to improve the performance of optical systems by reducing the effects of optical aberrations. The direct visualization of the photoreceptor cells, capillaries and nerve fiber bundles represents the major benefit of adding AO to retinal imaging. Adaptive optics is opening a new frontier for clinical research in ophthalmology, providing new information on the early pathological changes of the retinal microstructures in various retinal diseases. We have reviewed AO technology for retinal imaging, providing information on the core components of an AO retinal camera. The most commonly used wavefront sensing and correcting elements are discussed. Furthermore, we discuss current applications of AO imaging to a population of healthy adults and to the most frequent causes of blindness, including diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma. We conclude our work with a discussion on future clinical prospects for AO retinal imaging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Italy 2012)
Open AccessReview Nanostructured Metal Oxide Gas Sensors, a Survey of Applications Carried out at SENSOR Lab, Brescia (Italy) in the Security and Food Quality Fields
Sensors 2012, 12(12), 17023-17045; doi:10.3390/s121217023
Received: 26 September 2012 / Revised: 5 December 2012 / Accepted: 6 December 2012 / Published: 12 December 2012
Cited by 21 | PDF Full-text (4645 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this work we report on metal oxide (MOX) based gas sensors, presenting the work done at the SENSOR laboratory of the CNR-IDASC and University of Brescia, Italy since the 80s up to the latest results achieved in recent times. In particular we
[...] Read more.
In this work we report on metal oxide (MOX) based gas sensors, presenting the work done at the SENSOR laboratory of the CNR-IDASC and University of Brescia, Italy since the 80s up to the latest results achieved in recent times. In particular we report the strategies followed at SENSOR during these 30 years to increase the performance of MOX sensors through the development of different preparation techniques, from Rheotaxial Growth Thermal Oxidation (RGTO) to nanowire technology to address sensitivity and stability, and the development of electronic nose systems and pattern recognition techniques to address selectivity. We will show the obtained achievement in the context of selected applications such as safety and security and food quality control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Italy 2012)
Open AccessReview Overview of Micro- and Nano-Technology Tools for Stem Cell Applications: Micropatterned and Microelectronic Devices
Sensors 2012, 12(11), 15947-15982; doi:10.3390/s121115947
Received: 25 September 2012 / Revised: 10 November 2012 / Accepted: 15 November 2012 / Published: 19 November 2012
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1158 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the past few decades the scientific community has been recognizing the paramount role of the cell microenvironment in determining cell behavior. In parallel, the study of human stem cells for their potential therapeutic applications has been progressing constantly. The use of advanced
[...] Read more.
In the past few decades the scientific community has been recognizing the paramount role of the cell microenvironment in determining cell behavior. In parallel, the study of human stem cells for their potential therapeutic applications has been progressing constantly. The use of advanced technologies, enabling one to mimic the in vivo stem cell microenviroment and to study stem cell physiology and physio-pathology, in settings that better predict human cell biology, is becoming the object of much research effort. In this review we will detail the most relevant and recent advances in the field of biosensors and micro- and nano-technologies in general, highlighting advantages and disadvantages. Particular attention will be devoted to those applications employing stem cells as a sensing element. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Italy 2012)
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Open AccessReview Recent Advances in Integrated Photonic Sensors
Sensors 2012, 12(11), 15558-15598; doi:10.3390/s121115558
Received: 21 September 2012 / Revised: 30 October 2012 / Accepted: 5 November 2012 / Published: 9 November 2012
Cited by 39 | PDF Full-text (817 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nowadays, optical devices and circuits are becoming fundamental components in several application fields such as medicine, biotechnology, automotive, aerospace, food quality control, chemistry, to name a few. In this context, we propose a complete review on integrated photonic sensors, with specific attention to
[...] Read more.
Nowadays, optical devices and circuits are becoming fundamental components in several application fields such as medicine, biotechnology, automotive, aerospace, food quality control, chemistry, to name a few. In this context, we propose a complete review on integrated photonic sensors, with specific attention to materials, technologies, architectures and optical sensing principles. To this aim, sensing principles commonly used in optical detection are presented, focusing on sensor performance features such as sensitivity, selectivity and rangeability. Since photonic sensors provide substantial benefits regarding compatibility with CMOS technology and integration on chips characterized by micrometric footprints, design and optimization strategies of photonic devices are widely discussed for sensing applications. In addition, several numerical methods employed in photonic circuits and devices, simulations and design are presented, focusing on their advantages and drawbacks. Finally, recent developments in the field of photonic sensing are reviewed, considering advanced photonic sensor architectures based on linear and non-linear optical effects and to be employed in chemical/biochemical sensing, angular velocity and electric field detection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Italy 2012)
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Open AccessReview Italian Contributions to the Development of Continuous Glucose Monitoring Sensors for Diabetes Management
Sensors 2012, 12(10), 13753-13780; doi:10.3390/s121013753
Received: 12 September 2012 / Revised: 8 October 2012 / Accepted: 10 October 2012 / Published: 12 October 2012
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (850 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Monitoring glucose concentration in the blood is essential in the therapy of diabetes, a pathology which affects about 350 million people around the World (three million in Italy), causes more than four million deaths per year and consumes a significant portion of the
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Monitoring glucose concentration in the blood is essential in the therapy of diabetes, a pathology which affects about 350 million people around the World (three million in Italy), causes more than four million deaths per year and consumes a significant portion of the budget of national health systems (10% in Italy). In the last 15 years, several sensors with different degree of invasiveness have been proposed to monitor glycemia in a quasi-continuous way (up to 1 sample/min rate) for relatively long intervals (up to 7 consecutive days). These continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) sensors have opened new scenarios to assess, off-line, the effectiveness of individual patient therapeutic plans from the retrospective analysis of glucose time-series, but have also stimulated the development of innovative on-line applications, such as hypo/hyper-glycemia alert systems and artificial pancreas closed-loop control algorithms. In this review, we illustrate some significant Italian contributions, both from industry and academia, to the growth of the CGM sensors research area. In particular, technological, algorithmic and clinical developments performed in Italy will be discussed and put in relation with the advances obtained in the field in the wider international research community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Italy 2012)

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