imec - Surface ionisation for smart gas detection

At imec, sensors4IoT

The goal of this project is to explore the feasibility of low power, gas and vapour sensing using a combination of micro/nanostructure based ionization and smart readout.


Project Description

In the first phase of this project we would like to investigate surface ionization using heated microstructures. Surface ionization depends on the field-assisted electron emission of a gas molecule to an electrode. The electrode structure is chosen such that the local electric field is strongly enhanced. In combination with a heated electrode surface, gases or vapors are ionized depending on temperature, voltage and ionization potential. An ionization current is measured using a counter electrode.


The student will investigate several geometries and microelectrode layouts with the goal to maximize the sensitivity of the device while reducing power consumption and size. Ideally, the student will use finite element simulations to support the measurements.

In the second phase of this project, we would like to investigate the feasibility of using smart readouts to enhance sensor selectivity. We aim to use state-of-the-art readout techniques that require a multidisciplinary approach.


As the outcome of the project we would like to understand if and how sensor selectivity can be enhanced using the envisaged smart readout approach. Based on this outcome, we aim to develop a low-power CMOS-based readout for IOT applications.


Your Tasks

  • Setup gas sensing and readout equipment
  • Perform measurements different gases, analyze the results and propose new experiments
  • Evaluate different electrode geometries
  • Perform finite element simulations of electrode geometry to support the experiments (electric field optimization) and propose optimized geometry


Your Profile

  • Affinity for hands-on approach
  • Prior experience with comsol or other finite element software is an advantage
  • Knowledge of plasma physics is an advantage
  • Motivated student eager to work independently and expand knowledge in the field
  • Good written and verbal English skills


For all inquiries, please contact:

Ms Najat Loiazizi, HR specialist.

Telephone number: +31 (0)40 40 20 675


Apply now