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/Job opportunities/Fruit firmness evaluation using ultrasound

Fruit firmness evaluation using ultrasound

PhD - Leuven | More than two weeks ago

Develop the new generation of fruit sensor

Food quality is one of the main concerns in the current consumer-oriented industry. After harvesting, fruits are tested to evaluate sugar content, acid content, and firmness. Different types of sensors are currently developed to measure their internal quality using nuclear magnetic resonance, optics as well as acoustics. It has been demonstrated that ultrasounds could provide the deep inside measurement of the fruit without any damage.

Since decades, imec is leading the development of novel MEMS technologies such piezoelectric and capacitive MEMS ultrasound transducers based on CMOS-compatible Silicon technology. Due to the increasing interest in producing large arrays of such sensors, imec recently developed innovative polymer ultrasound transducers using the Large Area Electronics (LAE) thin-film technology platform which allows to produce passive and active components in thin-film frameworks with world-leading performance and in flexible form factors.

The purpose of this PhD is to design an ultrasound array to measure the firmness of fruit. Preliminary test will be performed with off-the-shelf transducers or available imec pmut array to determine the needed specifications to image the fruit contact and non-contact measurement. Based on this study, a design and fabrication of a Pmut array will be done using imec Pmut technologies. Finally, tests will be performed on different types of fruits. The PhD researcher will conduct the research over the entire cycle in the imec laboratories: 1) design and numerical modelling of pMUT array; 2) collaboration with the process team; 3) acoustical and mechanical characterization; 4) realization and characterization of the Pmut array. A collaboration with OnePlanet is foreseen in order to compare this methodology with other fruit evaluation method.

The candidate

You are a highly motivated student, with background in nano-engineering, physics, material science, electrical engineering, or related. You have an interest in the designing ultrasound transducer and in characterization of acoustical performance of developed devices. It is expected that you will present results regularly. You are a team player and have good communication skills as you will work in a multidisciplinary and multicultural team spanning several imec departments. Given the international character of imec, an excellent knowledge of English is a must.

Required background: nano-engineering, physics, materials science or electrical engineering with strong affinity for device physics

Type of work: 15% literature study, 30% modeling, 20% design, 35% characterization

Supervisor: Chris Van Hoof

Co-supervisor: Xavier Rottenberg

Daily advisor: Veronique Rochus

The reference code for this position is 2021-109. Mention this reference code on your application form.