Tutorials will be hosted on Sunday, November 1 at BEXCO.

Tutorial Schedule

Time Name, Institution Title

Marco Petrovich

University of Southampton, Optoelectronics Research Centre and EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Photonics, UK

Next generation telecom fibers - new opportunities for optical fiber sensing

Daniele Tosi

Nazarbayev University, School of Engineering, Dept. of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Astana, Kazakhstan

Thermal ablation of tumors: an emerging application for sensors

Morning Break


Minghong Yang

Wuhan University of Technology, National Engineering Laboratory for Fiber Optic Sensing Technology, P.R. China

Optical fiber sensing technologies based on sensitive thin films and coatings


Silvia Serranti & Giuseppe bonifazi CANCELED

University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Dept. of Chemical Engineering, Materials & Environment, Faculty of Civil and Industrial Engineering, Italy

Hyperspectral Imaging: fundamentals and case studies

Lunch Break


Alton Horsfall

Newcastle University, School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, UK

Sensing in extreme environments

John K. Atkinson

University of Southampton, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, UK

Screen printed sensors

Igor Paprotny

University of Illinois, Dept. Electrical and Computer Engineering, USA

Air-microfluidics: an introduction to theory and applications

Next generation telecom fibers - new opportunities for optical fiber sensing

Dr. Marco Petrovich

Abstract: Standard single mode fiber has been at the cornerstone of telecom systems for over three decades, but there are growing concerns of these fibers reaching their intrinsic capacity limit, estimated at about 100Tbit/s, bringing an end to an era in which the information capacity of such fiber seemed virtually unlimited. Thus, either radically new fibers are developed, or the installed fibers will soon be unable to support further growth, leading to a "capacity crunch" and thus to the need for more and more fiber to be installed, which would in turn cause a dramatic increase e.g. of the cost of Internet provision.

This has placed a very strong interest back into fiber development, after decades of limited activity. Amongst emerging fiber types are those that incorporate multiple spatial channels, either exploiting separate cores (multi-core fibers) or different optical modes within a suitably engineered single core (few-mode/multi-mode fibers), or again a combination of the two (multi-core multi-mode). A radically different approach looks at achieving ultra-low nonlinearity and reduced signal latency in hollow core microstructured fibers. The last five years have seen an impressive progress in the design and fabrication technologies of all this fiber types.

As these novel fibers become available with quality which meet the very stringent criteria for telecoms applications, new opportunities are also arising in adjacent application areas, fiber sensing being one of the most obvious. In fact it may be argued that the availability of such a rich portfolio of fibers with radically different properties as compared to conventional fibers is set to bring about a disruptive transformation of optical fiber sensing similar to what the advent of the first single mode fibers achieved about three decades ago.

In this tutorial we will describe these emerging fibers technologies in detail and will discuss the range of opportunities they offer in optical fiber sensing. We will start with a detailed summary of the principles of operations and basic properties of the various fiber types (multi-mode / multi-core / hollow core), discuss the state of the art in this fast-moving sector, and, most importantly, describe through a set of key practical examples the opportunities these fibers offer, including for instance interferometric sensing in multi-mode fibers, shape and curvature sensing in multi-core fibers, and absorption/chemical sensing in hollow core fibers.

Thermal ablation of tumors: an emerging application for sensors

Prof. Daniele Tosi

Abstract: Thermal ablation (TA) is an emerging medical procedure for treating tumors with an increasing size, and low invasiveness for patients. Using electrical (RF or microwave) or laser sources and miniature applicators, it is possible to produce a selective heat field in vivo, at the point of treatment: cancer cells mortality is a function of temperature and is achieved over 60°C).

Currently, TA is an effective clinical procedure; however, the lack of indicators is a significant barrier towards a disruptive innovation. On the other side, the "extreme" measurement challenge that TA offers, where gradients exceed 5°C/mm and 0.5°C/s, rules out all the most popular sensors technologies.

In this tutorial, a new methodology is discussed: installing sensors on TA applicators can return real-time feedback on the TA procedure, which can be used to provide substantial improvement to tumor ablation. Sensors enable the physician to perform TA with indicators of the physical phenomena occurring in ablation, turning TA from a "blind" to an information-driven procedure.

Significant emphasis is on fiber-optic sensors, which guarantee biocompatibility, minimum invasiveness, and allow sensing with sub-mm resolution. The research on fiber-optic sensors applied to RF ablation has been pioneered by an international team, led by Dr Tosi, achieving ex-vivo validation.

The proposed tutorial is organized on the following topics:

  • Outline of TA, and challenges for measurement/sensor specialists
  • Description of RF, microwave, and laser ablation: comparison and performances
  • State of the art of sensors applied to TA: the pioneers of this applications
  • Sensing technologies compatible with TA: miniaturization, biocompatibility, installation on TA applicators
  • Thermal measurement in TA: distributed sensing and sensor-image fusion
  • Protection of critical assets from ablation
  • The role of pressure measurement in TA, towards building a clinical case
  • Detection of strain and other biophysical parameters
  • Biological parameters: separating healthy tissue from tumor cells with biosensors
  • Positioning of the ablation device as a critical asset for achieving maximum performance
  • Fiber laser ablation: integrating sensors on the same fiber used for light delivery
  • Proposal of smart-TA: a robotic system with micro-actuators controlling the ablation device, and a network of sensors recording real-time local data - transforming TA to a robotic procedure with minimum invasiveness
  • Other applications of TA: cardiac surgery, pain management, electrical scalpel

Optical fiber sensing technologies based on sensitive thin films and coatings

Dr. Minghong Yang

Abstract: The combination of fiber optics with nano-structure technologies and sensitive thin films offers great potential for the realization of novel sensor concepts. Minitured optical fiber sensors with thin films as sensitive elements could open new fields for optical fiber sensor applications. Thin films work as sensitive elements and transducer to get response and feedback from environments, optical fiber here are employed to signal carrier. Concrete examples are: Pd/WO3 co-sputtered coating as sensing material for optical hydrogen sensors shows robust mechanical stability and meanwhile good hydrogen sensing performance. Minitured optical fiber sensors based on Fabry-Perot thin film structure are also proposed, the transducer deposited on fiber end-face is multilayer coating consisting of a stack of porous dielectric oxide materials realized by e-beam physical vapor deposition (PVD). The reversible adsorption and desorption of water molecules in the porous films in dependence on water vapor shifts the reflected interference spectrum fringe, therefore humidity sensing is correlated with the shift of interference fringe.

Hyperspectral Imaging: fundamentals and case studies

Prof. Giuseppe Bonifazi & Prof. Silvia Serranti

Abstract: HyperSpectral Imaging (HSI), known also as Chemical or Spectroscopic Imaging, is an emerging technique  combining the imaging properties of a digital camera with the spectroscopic properties of a spectrometer able to detect the spectral attributes of each pixel in an image. For these characteristics HSI allows to qualitatively and quantitatively evaluate the effects of the interactions of light with organic and/or inorganic materials. The results of this interaction are usually displayed as a spectral firm that is a signal characterized by a sequence of energy values, in a pre-defined wavelength interval, for each of the investigated/collected wavelength. Following this approach it is thus possible to collect, in a fast and reliable way, spectral information that are strictly linked with the chemical-physical characteristics of materials and/or products investigated surfaces.

HSI based application have rapidly emerged and grown, in these last years, especially in food inspection, with a large range of investigated products, such as fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, eggs and cereals, in pharmaceutical sector, in medicine, in cultral heritage, in material charecterization and in waste recycling.

HSI is based on the utilization of an integrated hardware and software architecture able to digitally capture and handle spectra, as an image sequence, as they results along a pre-defined alignment on a surface sample properly energized. Images are acquired scanning the investigated sample, line by line. Sample image sequence is then utilized to extract spectral information, to select effective wavelengths and, finally, for classification purposes.

This tutorial will present the basic principles of HSI. The fundamentals of this technique, its advantages, as well as the limits, with respect to the investigated sample characteristics, the utilized  analytical tools and the achieved results, will be discussed and critically evaluated, according to authors’ originally developed applications and to existing literature. Following the proposed “learning-by-case” approach, the attendees will be thus driven inside classical and advanced chemical imaging based architectures, techniques and procedures.

Target Audience:
A wide range of participants, including scientists, engineers, technicians and students, who want to understand the potentialities offered by hyperspectral imaging in real problem solving at laboratory and/or industrial scale, will benefit.

Sensing in extreme environments

Alton Horsfall

Abstract: The world contains a significant number of applications where the operating environment is considered extreme and conventional technology cannot function. These environments have a significant impact on our existence, from the exploration of deep oil reserves and the prediction of volcanic eruptions to the closed loop monitoring of combustion processes and deep space exploration. The physics and engineering of the sensors and supporting circuitry to enable these measurements is often significantly different to that of the sensors used in an Internet of Things or medical application. This tutorial will explain the limitations of existing technology in these extreme environments, using examples from the aerospace, nuclear, and deep sea sectors. Possible solutions and their limitations will then be presented, outlining the recent research level developments in this rapidly evolving field, before making predictions for the future in terms of techniques, capabilities, and markets that will become accessible with these sensor systems. 

Screen printed sensors

Dr. John Atkinson

Abstract: Screen printing as a fabrication method for sensors, and particularly sensor arrays, offers a great many benefits. It is a relatively low cost batch fabrication technique (easily scalable from 100 to 100K off devices) that is capable of producing rugged, miniature devices that are compatible with hybrid microelectronics fabrication, thereby offering easy integration of on-board electronic signal processing. Screen printing readily lends itself to the implementation of sensor arrays whereby multiple sensors can be simultaneously printed at relatively low incremental cost.

Examples of screen printed physical sensors include piezoresistive (e.g. strain gauges for pressure and load sensing), piezoelectric (e.g. accelerometers/actuators), thermal (PRTs and thermistors) and photoresistive devices (incident radiation). Examples of screen printed chemical sensors include conductimetric sensors, such as semiconductor gas sensors (for toxic and flammable gases) and conductivity sensors (e.g. humidity, salinity etc.) Other examples include electrochemical sensors, both potentiometric (e.g. ion sensitive electrodes, pH sensors) and amperometric (e.g. dissolved gas sensors, fuel cells).

The tutorial will explain the background technology of screen printing as well as presenting examples of typical screen printed sensors both in terms of their fabrication and performance characteristics.

Air-microfluidics: an introduction to theory and applications

Prof. Igor Paprotny

Abstract: The new field of air-microfluidics encompasses microfluidic circuits that use gas rather than liquid as their working fluid. Air-microfluidic lab-on-a-chip devices can be used as inexpensive yet reliable tools for detecting the presence of harmful contaminants in air. Applications include portable particulate matter monitors, portable methane detectors, airborne bio-aerosol and pathogen sensors, environmental monitoring, and healthcare diagnostics.

In this tutorial we will give a comprehensive introduction to the new and rapidly evolving field of air microfluidics. The tutorial will be co-authored by the researchers of the Air-Microfluidic Group (AMFG) (see description of the AMFG consortium appended to the end of this proposal), in particular by Dr. Paul Solomon from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Dr. Lara Gundel from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. We plan for the tutorial to be divided into three main parts:

In the first part, we will cover the theory of air-microfluidics, including the applicable review of physics and fluid dynamics, as well as an overview over the applicable microfabrication methods that are used to fabricate air-microfluidic circuits. In particular, we will emphasize key challenges that differentiate air-microfluidics from liquid microfluidics. This part will, among other, include the following sub-topics: 1) an introduction the field and literature review, 2) review of physics of microfluidics,  3) contrast between air-microfluidics and liquid microfluidics, 4) review of relevant scaling laws, and 5) review of relevant fabrication methods.

In the second part, we will review several applications of air-microfluidic sensors, specifically focusing on particulate mater (PM) and gas sensing. Examples will include review and demonstration of several sensors developed by the AMFG, as well as review of sensors developed by other groups conducting research in this field.

Finally, in the third part of the tutorial, we will focus on broader societal impacts of this technology, and review potential that air-microfluidics can bring to the society at large through the introduction of low-cost portable ubiquitous air-quality sensors. Examples of ongoing efforts in Citizen Science in the U.S.A. and world-wide will be discussed, and the market potential of air-microfluidic lab-on-a-chip type devices will be presented, specifically in lieu of the mobile device revolution of this last decade. Finally, we will conclude by discussing long-term future applications of air-microfluidics.

The Air-Microfluidics Group (AMFG) is a research consortium between the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA). Our mission is to conduct research in the use of micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS), nanofabrication, microfluidics, chemical engineering and material science to develop miniaturized, inexpensive, and portable/wearable low-cost sensors for a variety of applications related to ambient air-quality monitoring, exposure assessment, and chemical sensing. AMFG is currently funded through grants from federal agencies such as Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Department of Energy (DOE), as well as industrial research partners. More information about the consortium can be found at http://www1.ece.uic.edu/~paprotny/AMFG_index.html.