15 min

The five highlights of September 2019

Life is busy! So you might not always have the time to keep up with imec's latest news and achievements. On this page, you can find a quick overview of what imec has been doing in the past month.

DigiTrans offers a data-driven logistics solution for the transport sector

DigiTrans, the latest spin-off of the University of Antwerp and imec, is operational. Its innovative technology enables transport and logistics operators to benefit from any data or information at their fingertips, in their own working environment, in the format they require and at the moment it is most useful for them. The transport sector still struggles with rigid systems, often specialized in a single task, that require a lot of manual handling, human interactions and multiple checking. Current estimations show that a middle-size transport company, with a fleet size up to 300 trucks, can spend around EUR 150.000 a year just in manual bundling of data for day-by-day planning. DigiTrans faces this challenge by offering a flexible and data-driven approach. They developed a uniform middleware solution that connects to any data source or sensors. This solution enables data to be used in existing software solutions, triggers of actions and customizable optimization algorithms. 

For more information, read the press release.

PYCSEL, a new thermal fingerprint sensor, will participate in the EAB conference

PYCSEL (PYroelectric Conformable SEnsor matrix for Large area applications in security and safety) is a European H2020 funded project, devoted to developing a new fingerprint sensor using TOLAE (Thin, Organic and Large Area Electronics) technology. It is the world’s first fingerprint sensor that combines printed pyroelectric PVDF-based layers above an IGZO-TFT active matrix on a flexible plastic foil.

A one-finger demonstrator has been previously shown in the OE-A (Organic and Printed Electronics Association) competition. This competition was held during the LOPEC event, the leading trade fair and one of the most important conferences for the printed electronics industry. There, the PYCSEL-project was awarded as the Best Publicly-funded Project Demonstrator. 

Next, the innovative thermal biometric sensor technology will be presented and demonstrated to the Biometric community during the EAB Research Projects Conference, which will take place in Darmstadt (Germany) from 16th to 18th September 2019.

More information about PYCSEL can be found on the project’s website and the press release.


Smart crop protection with Flemish technology

In order to avoid heavy crop losses, farmers today often aim to apply an even, reliable dose of pesticide over the entire field. However, if the farmer knows exactly where the sources of infection are located - and where they are not - he can take targeted action. Imec has developed hyperspectral cameras for this purpose, which map out sources of infection from drones or tractors. These smart cameras enable farmers to apply the right amount of pesticides or fertilizer to the right parts of the field. This precision agriculture not only benefits the environment, but also the farmer, who profits from more yield at a lower cost. The new industry 4.0 experimental garden 'Smart Farming 4.0' will optimize user-friendly and reliable applications for potato and fruit cultivation over the next three years and demonstrate them to farms. In the experimental gardens, new spectral image sensors (hyperspectral camera's) and  new accompanying software for image analysis and anomaly detection in crops are demonstrated on drones and tractors. Seven research centers, headed by the Institute for Agricultural, Fisheries and Nutrition Research (ILVO), are joining forces for this purpose.

More information about hyperspectral imaging can be found here. What exactly Smart Farming 4.0 entails, you can find on the website

A new solar cell material increases energy efficiency

A new material for solar cells consisting of copper-zinc-germanium-selenide can make solar panels generate even more energy. That is the conclusion of the European research project SWInG of IMO-IMOMEC, the integrated research institute of UHasselt and imec. The current generation of silicon solar panels achieves a maximum energy efficiency of around 25 percent, which is close to the theoretical limit of a solar panel. Therefore, a material was sought that could be placed as a second solar cell on top of the existing silicon solar panels. By placing this 'tandem' of solar cells on top of each other, panels can generate even more energy. The protoype even achieved a world record efficiency of 8.4%. Provided that adjustments are made to the solar cell structure, this material could, as a second layer above the silicon solar panels, increase the efficiency of the solar panels to over the theoretical limit of 30 percent. It is also a material that is very stable, sufficiently available and not too expensive. The SWInG research project was carried out within EnergyVille, the research collaboration between UHasselt, imec, KU Leuven and VITO.

Read the original press release here (Dutch only).

perovskite material for solar cells by Bart Vermang

Johns Hopkins summer interns joining forces with imec researchers

This year was the tenth year that imec welcomed JHU students through the International Research Experience for Students (IRES) program, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The program is meant to provide an international research and cultural experience for American undergraduate and graduate students, while at the same time offering imec the opportunity to work with top students. For 10 weeks, the five students teamed up with imec researchers from imec’s Life Sciences Department to help them in ongoing projects.

Read about their projects and stay in Belgium in their blog.

Get to know more about the program in last year's imec magazine article.

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