Ethylene sensor: going bananas
At imec, Sensors & Energy Harvesters
If one ripe, yellow banana is added to a bowl of green, unripe ones, the ripening of the green bananas is greatly accelerated. This is caused by ethylene, a gaseous plant hormone released by the ripe banana. Measuring the ethylene concentration is therefore valuable for monitoring and controlling the ripening process of fruits and vegetables. However, current ethylene detection equipment is bulky and expensive or lacking sensitivity and selectivity. At Holst Centre, a novel ethylene sensor has been developed, based on an electrochemical cell in which an ionic liquid film is used as the electrolyte. This enables the development of a small, low power and low cost ethylene sensor system that allows continuous monitoring of the ripening process during transport and storage of fruits and vegetables.
It has been shown that the sensor can detect low concentrations of ethylene in a controlled laboratory environment. As a next step, we want to demonstrate that it is also capable of monitoring the ripening of real fruit. For this, it is important to know how the sensor responds to other gases and vapors that are present in the environment (cross-sensitivity), and to changes in temperature and humidity. The goal of this project is to design and build a demonstration setup to show that the sensor can detect ethylene in realistic conditions and can accurately determine the ripeness of fruit.
- Evaluation of sensor performance in different environmental conditions.
- Evaluation of cross-sensitivity.
- Designing, building and testing a demonstration setup using real fruit
We are looking for a motivated BSc or MSc student in the field of chemistry or engineering with good written and verbal English skills. Experience with electrochemistry is a pre but not required.
For all inquiries, please contact:
Ms Sandra Maas, Management Assistant Human Resources.
Telephone number: +31 (0)40 40 20 500.