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Sensors & Electronics

Sensors & Electronics

Physical Property Sensors

Physical Sensor Technology Overview

Overview chart graphic sensing mechanisms sensor devices sensor systems measurement and control systems

The development bubble chart represents the range of PNNL capabilities and activities and covers the span from underlying science to the engineering developments required to deliver devices, instruments, and systems. Staff working in the application environment (i.e. delivering engineered solutions) are most commonly exposed to the client's upcoming sensor needs and interests. At the same time, the existence of an integrated technology development team facilitates the transfer of information to staff working on the development or improvement of appropriate sensing mechanisms and devices.

Sensing/Interaction Mechanisms: Fundamental mechanisms and interactions that allow measurement of a intrinsic physical properties of a single material or medium (e.g., thermo-electric phenomena, piezo-electric phenomena, etc.).

Sensing Mechanism Capabilities

Sensor Devices: A device that can measure a desired physical property for a test medium or material. The sensor will rely on one or more sensing mechanisms and produce a signal that indicates the physical property/parameter value.

  • Types of physical property sensors developed at PNNL include: electro-optic sensors, electro-mechanical sensors, thermoelectric sensors, electrical and electromagnetic devices, mechanical devices, etc.
  • In addition, PNNL develops unique/specialized sensors for clients when suitable sensors are not available to meet a client's demanding requirements.

Physical Property Sensor Systems: Typically a sensor with associated components (frequently electronics and user input/output devices) that can convert the sensor's raw signal to usable information on a single target physical property (e.g., temperature, sound velocity, etc.). These may be stand alone instruments or a sensor module for incorporation in a more comprehensive system.

Measurement and Control Systems: Integrated systems developed to meet specific client application requirements that can include: single or multiple sensors; signal processing and data analysis functions; data monitoring and recording; and control functions.

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