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School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Automatic robot arm with optical sensor working in factory

Sensors and sensing systems

All modern devices are dependent on sensors and simply could not operate or work without them. This is true for the gadgets in your pocket to large industrial processes generating the worlds food and medicine supplies. Our world is driven by data; if data is not typed via a keyboard then it is acquired from some form of sensor.

Sensors research at The University of Manchester extends from nanometre sized semiconductor devices to sensors for biomedical inspection to large scale systems used to control major industrial processors. We have been working in this field for several decades and some of our achievements include the realisation of very high sensitivity Hall effect sensors to create a magnetic camera, pioneering industrial process tomography technology for looking inside industrial processes, and inventing new food inspection systems, which has helped a local company to win the Queens Award for Innovation in 2016.

We’re conducting research at all levels, developing new sensors and designing the systems and integration tools that will make sure that they work consistently and reliably. Our work also spans different power levels from very low powered non-invasive bioelectronics which can be worn or embedded into clothing, through to more powerful sensors used for demanding high security environments such as landmine detection.

Research focus

We are experts in this field and cover all aspects related to sensors and sensing systems.

Some specific areas we focus on are:

  • Non-destructive testing icon

    Non-destructive testing

    Being able to test the quality of installations or devices without destroying them is vital. A critical example is being able to analyse metallic bars or cables within reinforced concrete. In partnership with the internationally leading Research Centre for Non Destructive Evaluation, Tata Steel and Primetals Technologies, we have developed radically new methods that can identify corrosion before it leads to the failure of the material (which could have devastating consequences).

  • Non-invasive bioelectronics icon

    Non-invasive bioelectronics

    Highly multi-disciplinary sensing for next generation wearables. Our work spans designing ultra low power microchips for improved battery life, to flexible electronics and temporary sensing ‘tattoos’. We are creating novel signal processing to extract useful information from noisy, real-world, environments, and ultimately to enable closed-loop sense-actuate devices for optimising treatment.

  • Security icon

    Unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs)

    We are developing new sensing solutions for humanitarian aspects of security to ensure public spaces are safe and countries can recover quickly from explosive remnants of war.  This research spans from improving food security through improvement in agriculture to new techniques for landmine detection to help clear minefields.