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/Job opportunities/Fruit firmness evaluation using ultrasound

Fruit firmness evaluation using ultrasound

Research & development - Leuven | More than two weeks ago

Develop the new generation of fruit sensor

As food quality becomes one of the main concerns in our society, different types of sensors are arising to monitor a multitude of indicators. One promising way to gather interesting data in a non-invasive way, is by using ultrasound.

In the MEMS team of Imec, we are developing miniaturized ultrasound transducers that due to their small form factor and easy integration with electronics, enable new application fields. One of those fields is to use ultrasound waves to gather data from the inside of fruit to detect firmness and ripeness. The figure below illustrates the basic principle of ultrasound imaging. The way ultrasound waves travel through the fruit and reflect on its interface, provides us information on the fruit’s mechanical properties.

Figure 1: concept of ultrasound inspection for fruit (Z acoustic impedance and R reflection coefficient)

The purpose of this master thesis is to identify the required ultrasound transducer specifications to measure the firmness of fruit and implement this in an improved setup. This will be tackled by starting with simulations and preliminary tests with off the shelve transducers. Thereafter, based on the acquired data together with simulations, an optimized MEMS based transducer and setup will be developed and tested. The work is estimated to be: 30% simulations/design, 40% characterization, 30% data processing. Generally, this is a topic for an application-oriented student who is eager to understand complex systems with a hands-on attitude and interest for MEMS devices. Furthermore, given the international character of imec, an excellent knowledge of English is a must.

Type of project: Internship, Thesis, Combination of internship and thesis

Duration: 6 months - 1 year

Required degree: Master of Engineering Technology, Master of Engineering Science, Master of Science, Master of Bioengineering

Required background: Physics, Nanoscience & Nanotechnology, Materials Engineering, Electrotechnics/Electrical Engineering, Electromechanical engineering, Biomedical engineering, Bioscience Engineering

Supervising scientist(s): For further information or for application, please contact: Veronique Rochus ( and Margo Billen ( and Marcus Ingram (

Only for self-supporting students.