Science Technology

Without sensors, there would be no modern science and technology

1. New products launched successively
Nowadays, “Without sensors, there can be no modern science and technology” has become a universally recognized view. Countries have elevated sensors to a higher position, and no one wants to lag behind in developing the sensor industry.
The first optical fiber chemical sensor based on black phosphorus has been successfully developed by the Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in cooperation with Bangor University in the United Kingdom to achieve ultra sensitive detection of heavy metal ions. It is reported that this is the first time that the research team has combined black scales and inclined fiber gratings, resulting in the birth of a new type of ultra sensitive chemical sensor. The successful development of a new type of black phosphorus fiber optic sensor will provide an excellent optical detection platform for chemical and biological sensing, thereby promoting the application and research process of black phosphorus chemical and biological sensors.
While the research results of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have been made public, the Korean Academy of Science and Technology has also achieved new results. The Korean Academy of Science and Technology, in conjunction with Yonsei University, has developed a photodiode device that can sense ultraviolet to near-infrared light using a mixed dimensional spatial two-layer structure of two-dimensional tungsten selenide nanochips and one-dimensional zinc oxide semiconductor nanowires.
The research results were published in the international academic journal Advanced Functional Materials. The two-dimensional components used by the research team have strong optical response performance and high hole mobility, and are P-type semiconductor components. One-dimensional zinc oxide nanowires are currently one of the best one-dimensional nano semiconductors, with high electron mobility characteristics, and are expected to be applied to high-performance electronic components, N-type semiconductor components. A hybrid dimensional spatial double layer structure (PN type) is formed by mixing one-dimensional and two-dimensional, and a photodiode element is developed.
The research team stated that the research has successfully realized two-dimensional images, and is expected to be widely used in the future in new generation image sensor components.
Researchers from the University of Manchester have recently designed graphene sensors embedded in radio frequency identification systems (RFID), which will potentially revolutionize the Internet of Things. This new development can provide applications such as intelligent wireless monitoring of battery free manufacturing processes that are sensitive to humidity, food safety, health care, and nuclear waste.
In addition, Oxford University has also developed new intelligent MOF photon sensors; Germany has developed a quantum sensor that can be used in micro magnetic fields.
2. Main Applications
Intelligent sensors have been widely used in various fields such as aerospace, aviation, national defense, science and technology, and industrial and agricultural production. For example, it has broad application prospects in the field of robotics. Intelligent sensors enable robots to have humanoid facial features and brain functions, and can sense various phenomena and complete various actions.
In industrial production, using traditional sensors cannot quickly and directly measure and online control certain product quality indicators (such as viscosity, hardness, surface finish, composition, color, and taste). Intelligent sensors can be used to directly measure certain quantities (such as temperature, pressure, flow rate, etc.) in the production process that have a functional relationship with product quality indicators. Using mathematical models established by neural networks or expert system technology to calculate, the quality of the product can be inferred.
With the in-depth development and continuous breakthroughs of sensor products and technologies, the sensor application market continues to deepen. Among them, the field of fingerprint recognition and autonomous driving has been favored by the industry, while the robot and medical industries may become emerging fertile ground for the development of sensors in the future.
Specifically, in the field of autonomous driving, due to the limited space of the vehicle body itself, ordinary sensors are clearly unable to meet the new needs of the era, and the advantages of intelligent sensors become prominent. Compared to traditional sensors, intelligent sensors can not only achieve accurate data collection, but also control costs within a certain range. In addition, its automation capabilities and diverse functions also add a lot of points to intelligent sensors.
For example, in Google Cars, in addition to sensors used in laser scanners, sensor technology is also used in components/systems such as cameras, radars, and inertial sensors. At present, the common sensors used in autonomous vehicle include laser radar, image sensor, millimeter wave radar, etc.
Automatic driving is just one of the sensor application scenarios, and another promising application market is fingerprint recognition. In the past two years, the development of smart phones has been very rapid, and carrying fingerprint recognition has become a necessary feature of many brands of smart phones. According to relevant data, in 2016, the number of fingerprint sensors reached 700 million, with a compound annual growth rate of over 133%.
With the continuous development of intelligent products equipped with fingerprint recognition such as smart phones, wearable devices, and smart door locks, the fingerprint sensor market will usher in a brighter development prospect.
3. Multiple industry standards
Standardizing market order is an important guarantee for the healthy development of industries, and the sensor market is no exception. Based on existing basic resources such as talent, market, and technology, the introduction of favorable policies and the formulation of industry standards are essential to accelerate the development process of sensors.
In the past few years, there have been numerous policies related to the development of the sensor industry. For example, the “Twelfth Five Year Plan” for Electronic Components in China released by the China Electronic Components Association in 2011; In 2012, the “12th Five Year Plan” for the Internet of Things issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology also highlighted the development of micro and intelligent sensors and wireless sensor networks.
In 2015, the “Made in China 2025” strategy was mentioned again, indicating the direction for the development of the sensor industry; Later, in July 2016, the “13th Five Year Plan for National Science and Technology Innovation” was issued, emphasizing the research, development and innovation of new sensors.
In 2018, the implementation of a series of industry standards will continue to “escort” the sensor industry. In 2017, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine and the National Standardization Administration approved 203 national standards and 10 foreign language versions of national standards. It is reported that these new standards will be implemented in 2018, involving multiple instrument standards, including intelligent sensors, intelligent recording meters, intelligent flow meters, and so on.
With the implementation of multiple new national standards, the sensor industry will usher in a new era of growth. In addition to the development trends of intelligence and digitization, standardization may become one of the labels of sensor development.
The breakthroughs in products/technologies, the continuous deepening of application scenarios, the continuous introduction of industry standards, and the increasing demand in the upstream and downstream markets have all driven the sensor industry towards maturity. This may be why intelligent sensors are known as the most influential high-tech technology in the 21st century.
4. Industrial chain
Intelligent sensors are sensors with information processing functions, and their greatest value is to organically integrate the signal detection function of sensors with the signal processing function of microprocessors.
In the domestic smart sensor market, local enterprises have weak competitiveness, with multinational companies accounting for 87% of the market share. However, the ecosystem of China’s intelligent sensor industry is also becoming more complete, with key links such as design and manufacturing, sealing and testing all having a backbone enterprise layout.