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Special Issue "Sensors for Harsh Environments"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2015).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Ha Duong Ngo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin, University of Applied Sciences, Treskowallee 8, 10318 Berlin, Germany
Interests: microsystems; piezoresistive sensor; sensor for harsh environments; SOI and SiC-based sensor; accelerometers; gas sensor; design and simulation of microsystems; graphene; material research; graphene-based sensors; biosensors; printed sensors; 2D sensors; technologies
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

To reduce environmental pollution, save energy and be economically competitive, the efficiency of industrial processes needs to be continuously improved. To optimize industrial processes, such as combustion processes in cars and airplanes, the processes parameters need to be determined first. This is usually done by sensors such as pressure, temperature, radiation, or gas sensors. In addition, the ability of sensing in harsh environments allows us to understand new environments such as the Mars atmosphere or the bottom of ocean. For a large number of industries, such as the automotive, aerospace, power generation, oil and polymer processing industries, the processes occur at high temperatures (>150 °C) and in harsh environments—high radiation, high shock and chemically corrosive environments.

In order to develop a new generation of devices which can survive and operate properly in such harsh environments well beyond regimes of silicon based devices, new materials and technologies are necessary. Worldwide, many development works have been conducted on advanced materials (SiC, GaN, AlN, Ceramic) using advanced fabrication technologies. As a result, many prototypes have been realized and tested showing their ability to operate in harsh environments. The purpose of this Sensors Special Issue on Sensors for Harsh Environments is to get an overview of these activities on developments of new materials, fabrication technologies, new devices such as sensors and actuators, energy harvesting components, wireless modules and also testing and characterization of such systems for use in harsh environments.

Prof. Dr. Ha Duong Ngo
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • high temperature sensors
  • harsh environments
  • SiC-based devices
  • wide band gap semiconductors
  • ceramic
  • combustion engine
  • Planetary research
  • packaging

Published Papers (14 papers)

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Research

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Article
Load Measurement on Foundations of Rockfall Protection Systems
Sensors 2016, 16(2), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/s16020174 - 29 Jan 2016
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3785
Abstract
Rockfall protection barriers are connected to the ground using steel cables fixed with anchors and foundations for the steel posts. It is common practice to measure the forces in the cables, while to date measurements of forces in the foundations have been inadequately [...] Read more.
Rockfall protection barriers are connected to the ground using steel cables fixed with anchors and foundations for the steel posts. It is common practice to measure the forces in the cables, while to date measurements of forces in the foundations have been inadequately resolved. An overview is presented of existing methods to measure the loads on the post foundations of rockfall protection barriers. Addressing some of the inadequacies of existing approaches, a novel sensor unit is presented that is able to capture the forces acting on post foundations in all six degrees of freedom. The sensor unit consists of four triaxial force sensors placed between two steel plates. To correctly convert the measurements into the directional forces acting on the foundation a special in-situ calibration procedure is proposed that delivers a corresponding conversion matrix. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Harsh Environments)
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Article
Galileo: The Added Value for Integrity in Harsh Environments
Sensors 2016, 16(1), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/s16010111 - 16 Jan 2016
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2784
Abstract
A global navigation satellite system (GNSS)-based navigation is a challenging task in a signal-degraded environments where GNSS signals are distorted by multipath and attenuated by fading effects: the navigation solution may be inaccurate or unavailable. A possible approach to improve accuracy and availability [...] Read more.
A global navigation satellite system (GNSS)-based navigation is a challenging task in a signal-degraded environments where GNSS signals are distorted by multipath and attenuated by fading effects: the navigation solution may be inaccurate or unavailable. A possible approach to improve accuracy and availability is the joint use of measurements from different GNSSs and quality check algorithms; this approach is investigated here using live GPS and Galileo signals. A modified receiver autonomous integrity monitoring (RAIM) algorithm, including geometry and separability checks, is proposed to detect and exclude erroneous measurements: the multi-constellation approach provides redundant measurements, and RAIM exploits them to exclude distorted observations. The synergy between combined GPS/Galileo navigation and RAIM is analyzed using live data; the performance is compared to the accuracy and availability of a GPS-only solution. The tests performed demonstrate that the methods developed are effective techniques for GNSS-based navigation in signal-degraded environments. The joint use of the multi-constellation approach and of modified RAIM algorithms improves the performance of the navigation system in terms of both accuracy and availability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Harsh Environments)
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Article
Development of a Room Temperature SAW Methane Gas Sensor Incorporating a Supramolecular Cryptophane A Coating
Sensors 2016, 16(1), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/s16010073 - 07 Jan 2016
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 4384
Abstract
A new room temperature supra-molecular cryptophane A (CrypA)-coated surface acoustic wave (SAW) sensor for sensing methane gas is presented. The sensor is composed of differential resonator-oscillators, a supra-molecular CrypA coated along the acoustic propagation path, and a frequency signal acquisition module (FSAM). A [...] Read more.
A new room temperature supra-molecular cryptophane A (CrypA)-coated surface acoustic wave (SAW) sensor for sensing methane gas is presented. The sensor is composed of differential resonator-oscillators, a supra-molecular CrypA coated along the acoustic propagation path, and a frequency signal acquisition module (FSAM). A two-port SAW resonator configuration with low insertion loss, single resonation mode, and high quality factor was designed on a temperature-compensated ST-X quartz substrate, and as the feedback of the differntial oscillators. Prior to development, the coupling of modes (COM) simulation was conducted to predict the device performance. The supramolecular CrypA was synthesized from vanillyl alcohol using a double trimerisation method and deposited onto the SAW propagation path of the sensing resonators via different film deposition methods. Experiential results indicate the CrypA-coated sensor made using a dropping method exhibits higher sensor response compared to the unit prepared by the spinning approach because of the obviously larger surface roughness. Fast response and excellent repeatability were observed in gas sensing experiments, and the estimated detection limit and measured sensitivity are ~0.05% and ~204 Hz/%, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Harsh Environments)
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Article
Theoretical and Experimental Study of Radial Velocity Generation for Extending Bandwidth of Magnetohydrodynamic Angular Rate Sensor at Low Frequency
Sensors 2015, 15(12), 31606-31619; https://doi.org/10.3390/s151229869 - 15 Dec 2015
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3468
Abstract
The magnetohydrodynamics angular rate sensor (MHD ARS) has received much attention for its ultra-low noise in ultra-broad bandwidth and its impact resistance in harsh environments; however, its poor performance at low frequency hinders its work in long time duration. The paper presents a [...] Read more.
The magnetohydrodynamics angular rate sensor (MHD ARS) has received much attention for its ultra-low noise in ultra-broad bandwidth and its impact resistance in harsh environments; however, its poor performance at low frequency hinders its work in long time duration. The paper presents a modified MHD ARS combining Coriolis with MHD effect to extend the measurement scope throughout the whole bandwidth, in which an appropriate radial flow velocity should be provided to satisfy simplified model of the modified MHD ARS. A method that can generate radial velocity by an MHD pump in MHD ARS is proposed. A device is designed to study the radial flow velocity generated by the MHD pump. The influence of structure and physical parameters are studied by numerical simulation and experiment of the device. The analytic expression of the velocity generated by the energized current drawn from simulation and experiment are consistent, which demonstrates the effectiveness of the method generating radial velocity. The study can be applied to generate and control radial velocity in modified MHD ARS, which is essential for the two effects combination throughout the whole bandwidth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Harsh Environments)
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Article
Study and Test of a New Bundle-Structure Riser Stress Monitoring Sensor Based on FBG
Sensors 2015, 15(11), 29648-29660; https://doi.org/10.3390/s151129648 - 24 Nov 2015
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3186
Abstract
To meet the requirements of riser safety monitoring in offshore oil fields, a new Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG)-based bundle-structure riser stress monitoring sensor has been developed. In cooperation with many departments, a 49-day marine test in water depths of 1365 m and 1252 [...] Read more.
To meet the requirements of riser safety monitoring in offshore oil fields, a new Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG)-based bundle-structure riser stress monitoring sensor has been developed. In cooperation with many departments, a 49-day marine test in water depths of 1365 m and 1252 m was completed on the “HYSY-981” ocean oil drilling platform. No welding and pasting were used when the sensor was installed on risers. Therefore, the installation is convenient, reliable and harmless to risers. The continuous, reasonable, time-consistent data obtained indicates that the sensor worked normally under water. In all detailed working conditions, the test results show that the sensor can do well in reflecting stresses and bending moments both in and in magnitude. The measured maximum stress is 132.7 MPa, which is below the allowable stress. In drilling and testing conditions, the average riser stress was 86.6 MPa, which is within the range of the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) mechanical simulation results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Harsh Environments)
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Article
Performance Analysis of the Ironless Inductive Position Sensor in the Large Hadron Collider Collimators Environment
Sensors 2015, 15(11), 28592-28602; https://doi.org/10.3390/s151128592 - 11 Nov 2015
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2444
Abstract
The Ironless Inductive Position Sensor (I2PS) has been introduced as a valid alternative to Linear Variable Differential Transformers (LVDTs) when external magnetic fields are present. Potential applications of this linear position sensor can be found in critical systems such as nuclear plants, tokamaks, [...] Read more.
The Ironless Inductive Position Sensor (I2PS) has been introduced as a valid alternative to Linear Variable Differential Transformers (LVDTs) when external magnetic fields are present. Potential applications of this linear position sensor can be found in critical systems such as nuclear plants, tokamaks, satellites and particle accelerators. This paper analyzes the performance of the I2PS in the harsh environment of the collimators of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), where position uncertainties of less than 20 µm are demanded in the presence of nuclear radiation and external magnetic fields. The I2PS has been targeted for installation for LHC Run 2, in order to solve the magnetic interference problem which standard LVDTs are experiencing. The paper describes in detail the chain of systems which belong to the new I2PS measurement task, their impact on the sensor performance and their possible further optimization. The I2PS performance is analyzed evaluating the position uncertainty (on 30 s), the magnetic immunity and the long-term stability (on 7 days). These three indicators are assessed from data acquired during the LHC operation in 2015 and compared with those of LVDTs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Harsh Environments)
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Article
High-Temperature SAW Wireless Strain Sensor with Langasite
Sensors 2015, 15(11), 28531-28542; https://doi.org/10.3390/s151128531 - 11 Nov 2015
Cited by 30 | Viewed by 3767
Abstract
Two Surface acoustic wave (SAW) resonators were fabricated on langasite substrates with Euler angle of (0°, 138.5°, 117°) and (0°, 138.5°, 27°). A dipole antenna was bonded to the prepared SAW resonator to form a wireless sensor. The characteristics of the SAW sensors [...] Read more.
Two Surface acoustic wave (SAW) resonators were fabricated on langasite substrates with Euler angle of (0°, 138.5°, 117°) and (0°, 138.5°, 27°). A dipole antenna was bonded to the prepared SAW resonator to form a wireless sensor. The characteristics of the SAW sensors were measured by wireless frequency domain interrogation methods from 20 °C to 600 °C. Different temperature behaviors of the sensors were observed. Strain sensing was achieved using a cantilever configuration. The sensors were measured under applied strain from 20 °C to 500 °C. The shift of the resonance frequency contributed merely by strain is extracted from the combined effects of temperature and strain. Both the strain factors of the two SAW sensors increase with rising ambient temperature, and the SAW sensor deposited on (0°, 138.5°, 117°) cut is more sensitive to applied strain. The measurement errors of the two sensors are also discussed. The relative errors of the two sensors are between 0.63% and 2.09%. Even at 500 °C, the hysteresis errors of the two sensors are less than 5%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Harsh Environments)
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Article
Development of Metal-Ceramic Coaxial Cable Fabry-Pérot Interferometric Sensors for High Temperature Monitoring
Sensors 2015, 15(10), 24914-24925; https://doi.org/10.3390/s151024914 - 25 Sep 2015
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2992
Abstract
Metal-ceramic coaxial cable Fabry-Pérot interferometric (MCCC-FPI) sensors have been developed using a stainless steel tube and a stainless steel wire as the outer and inner conductors, respectively; a tubular α-alumina insulator; and a pair of air gaps created in the insulator along the [...] Read more.
Metal-ceramic coaxial cable Fabry-Pérot interferometric (MCCC-FPI) sensors have been developed using a stainless steel tube and a stainless steel wire as the outer and inner conductors, respectively; a tubular α-alumina insulator; and a pair of air gaps created in the insulator along the cable to serve as weak reflectors for the transmitting microwave (MW) signal. The MCCC-FPI sensors have been demonstrated for high temperature measurements using MW signals in a frequency range of 2–8 GHz. The temperature measurement is achieved by monitoring the frequency shift (Δƒ) of the MW interferogram reflected from the pair of weak reflectors. The MW sensor exhibited excellent linear dependence of Δƒ on temperature; small measurement deviations (±2.7%); and fast response in a tested range of 200–500 °C. The MCCC has the potential for further developing multipoint FPI sensors in a single-cable to achieve in situ and continuous measurement of spatially distributed temperature in harsh environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Harsh Environments)
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Article
High-Temperature Dielectric Properties of Aluminum Nitride Ceramic for Wireless Passive Sensing Applications
Sensors 2015, 15(9), 22660-22671; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150922660 - 08 Sep 2015
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3203
Abstract
The accurate characterization of the temperature-dependent permittivity of aluminum nitride (AlN) ceramic is quite critical to the application of wireless passive sensors for harsh environments. Since the change of the temperature-dependent permittivity will vary the ceramic-based capacitance, which can be converted into the [...] Read more.
The accurate characterization of the temperature-dependent permittivity of aluminum nitride (AlN) ceramic is quite critical to the application of wireless passive sensors for harsh environments. Since the change of the temperature-dependent permittivity will vary the ceramic-based capacitance, which can be converted into the change of the resonant frequency, an LC resonator, based on AlN ceramic, is prepared by the thick film technology. The dielectric properties of AlN ceramic are measured by the wireless coupling method, and discussed within the temperature range of 12 °C (room temperature) to 600 °C. The results show that the extracted relative permittivity of ceramic at room temperature is 2.3% higher than the nominal value of 9, and increases from 9.21 to 10.79, and the quality factor Q is decreased from 29.77 at room temperature to 3.61 at 600 °C within the temperature range. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Harsh Environments)
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Article
Ultrahigh-Temperature Regeneration of Long Period Gratings (LPGs) in Boron-Codoped Germanosilicate Optical Fibre
Sensors 2015, 15(8), 20659-20677; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150820659 - 20 Aug 2015
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3129
Abstract
The regeneration of UV-written long period gratings (LPG) in boron-codoped germanosilicate “W” fibre is demonstrated and studied. They survive temperatures over 1000 °C. Compared with regenerated FBGs fabricated in the same type of fibre, the evolution curves of LPGs during regeneration and post-annealing [...] Read more.
The regeneration of UV-written long period gratings (LPG) in boron-codoped germanosilicate “W” fibre is demonstrated and studied. They survive temperatures over 1000 °C. Compared with regenerated FBGs fabricated in the same type of fibre, the evolution curves of LPGs during regeneration and post-annealing reveal even more detail of glass relaxation. Piece-wise temperature dependence is observed, indicating the onset of a phase transition of glass in the core and inner cladding at ~500 °C and ~250 °C, and the melting of inner cladding between 860 °C and 900 °C. An asymmetric spectral response with increasing and decreasing annealing temperature points to the complex process dependent material system response. Resonant wavelength tuning by adjusting the dwell temperature at which regeneration is undertaken is demonstrated, showing a shorter resonant wavelength and shorter time for stabilisation with higher dwell temperatures. All the regenerated LPGs are nearly strain-insensitive and cannot be tuned by applying loads during annealing as done for regenerated FBGs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Harsh Environments)
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Article
Advanced Liquid-Free, Piezoresistive, SOI-Based Pressure Sensors for Measurements in Harsh Environments
Sensors 2015, 15(8), 20305-20315; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150820305 - 18 Aug 2015
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 3751
Abstract
In this paper we present and discuss two innovative liquid-free SOI sensors for pressure measurements in harsh environments. The sensors are capable of measuring pressures at high temperatures. In both concepts media separation is realized using a steel membrane. The two concepts represent [...] Read more.
In this paper we present and discuss two innovative liquid-free SOI sensors for pressure measurements in harsh environments. The sensors are capable of measuring pressures at high temperatures. In both concepts media separation is realized using a steel membrane. The two concepts represent two different strategies for packaging of devices for use in harsh environments and at high temperatures. The first one is a “one-sensor-one-packaging_technology” concept. The second one uses a standard flip-chip bonding technique. The first sensor is a “floating-concept”, capable of measuring pressures at temperatures up to 400 °C (constant load) with an accuracy of 0.25% Full Scale Output (FSO). A push rod (mounted onto the steel membrane) transfers the applied pressure directly to the center-boss membrane of the SOI-chip, which is placed on a ceramic carrier. The chip membrane is realized by Deep Reactive Ion Etching (DRIE or Bosch Process). A novel propertied chip housing employing a sliding sensor chip that is fixed during packaging by mechanical preloading via the push rod is used, thereby avoiding chip movement, and ensuring optimal push rod load transmission. The second sensor can be used up to 350 °C. The SOI chips consists of a beam with an integrated centre-boss with was realized using KOH structuring and DRIE. The SOI chip is not “floating” but bonded by using flip-chip technology. The fabricated SOI sensor chip has a bridge resistance of 3250 Ω. The realized sensor chip has a sensitivity of 18 mV/µm measured using a bridge current of 1 mA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Harsh Environments)
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Article
A Wireless Passive LC Resonant Sensor Based on LTCC under High-Temperature/Pressure Environments
Sensors 2015, 15(7), 16729-16739; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150716729 - 10 Jul 2015
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3321
Abstract
In this work, a wireless passive LC resonant sensor based on DuPont 951 ceramic is proposed and tested in a developed high-temperature/pressure complex environment. The test results show that the measured resonant frequency varies approximately linearly with the applied pressure; simultaneously, high temperature [...] Read more.
In this work, a wireless passive LC resonant sensor based on DuPont 951 ceramic is proposed and tested in a developed high-temperature/pressure complex environment. The test results show that the measured resonant frequency varies approximately linearly with the applied pressure; simultaneously, high temperature causes pressure signal drift and changes the response sensitivity. Through the theoretical analysis of the sensor structure model, it is found that the increase in the dielectric constant and the decrease in the Young’s modulus of DuPont 951 ceramic are the main causes that affect the pressure signal in high-temperature measurement. Through calculations, the Young’s modulus of DuPont 951 ceramic is found to decrease rapidly from 120 GPa to 65 GPa within 400 °C. Therefore, the LC resonant pressure sensor needs a temperature compensation structure to eliminate the impact of temperature on pressure measurement. Finally, a temperature compensation structure is proposed and fabricated, and the pressure response after temperature compensation illustrates that temperature drift is significantly reduced compared with that without the temperature compensation structure, which verifies the feasibility the proposed temperature compensation structure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Harsh Environments)
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Article
Design and Implementation of an Intrinsically Safe Liquid-Level Sensor Using Coaxial Cable
Sensors 2015, 15(6), 12613-12634; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150612613 - 28 May 2015
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 4299
Abstract
Real-time detection of liquid level in complex environments has always been a knotty issue. In this paper, an intrinsically safe liquid-level sensor system for flammable and explosive environments is designed and implemented. The poly vinyl chloride (PVC) coaxial cable is chosen as the [...] Read more.
Real-time detection of liquid level in complex environments has always been a knotty issue. In this paper, an intrinsically safe liquid-level sensor system for flammable and explosive environments is designed and implemented. The poly vinyl chloride (PVC) coaxial cable is chosen as the sensing element and the measuring mechanism is analyzed. Then, the capacitance-to-voltage conversion circuit is designed and the expected output signal is achieved by adopting parameter optimization. Furthermore, the experimental platform of the liquid-level sensor system is constructed, which involves the entire process of measuring, converting, filtering, processing, visualizing and communicating. Additionally, the system is designed with characteristics of intrinsic safety by limiting the energy of the circuit to avoid or restrain the thermal effects and sparks. Finally, the approach of the piecewise linearization is adopted in order to improve the measuring accuracy by matching the appropriate calibration points. The test results demonstrate that over the measurement range of 1.0 m, the maximum nonlinearity error is 0.8% full-scale span (FSS), the maximum repeatability error is 0.5% FSS, and the maximum hysteresis error is reduced from 0.7% FSS to 0.5% FSS by applying software compensation algorithms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Harsh Environments)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Review
Review of Research Status and Development Trends of Wireless Passive LC Resonant Sensors for Harsh Environments
Sensors 2015, 15(6), 13097-13109; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150613097 - 04 Jun 2015
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 3733
Abstract
Measurement technology for various key parameters in harsh environments (e.g., high-temperature and biomedical applications) continues to be limited. Wireless passive LC resonant sensors offer long service life and can be suitable for harsh environments because they can transmit signals without battery power or [...] Read more.
Measurement technology for various key parameters in harsh environments (e.g., high-temperature and biomedical applications) continues to be limited. Wireless passive LC resonant sensors offer long service life and can be suitable for harsh environments because they can transmit signals without battery power or wired connections. Consequently, these devices have become the focus of many current research studies. This paper addresses recent research, key technologies, and practical applications relative to passive LC sensors used to monitor temperature, pressure, humidity, and harmful gases in harsh environments. The advantages and disadvantages of various sensor types are discussed, and prospects and challenges for future development of these sensors are presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Harsh Environments)
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