Center for Micro and Nano Sensors Spintronics and Metamaterials Thermal Sensor-Actuator Systems Resonant Magnetic Field Detection Viscosity Sensors Hybrid Microsystems Projects Center for Distributed Systems and Sensor Networks Center for Modeling and Simulation Center for Water and Environmental Sensors Publications Team Scientific Events Awards Cooperations Infrastructure Contact

Center for Micro and Nano Sensors



The department for integrated sensor systems develops sensors and actuators based on MEMS/NEMS and thin film technologies. Novel sensor and actuator technologies are used in medical applications, environmental monitoring, building technologies, industrial automation, and automotive applications. DISS implements key enabling technologies, i.e. nanotechnology, photonics, advanced materials, and micro/nano-electronics, identified as key to innovations by the EU industrial leaders. The research activities, knowhow and experiences cover:


  • Concept, design, and development of MEMS/NEMS and thin film sensors/actuators with special focus on:
    • Sensors based on spintronics and metamaterials
    • Resonant magnetic field sensors
    • Thermal sensors and actuators
    • Micro-optoelectromechanical systems (MOEMS)
  • Manufacturing of demonstrators, prototypes and small batches of developed sensor and actuator solutions
  • Characterization and testing of sensor and actuator systems and their validation by multi-physical modeling and analytical description
  • Analysis of customer-specific requirements and identification of suitable sensor and actuator principles


Two major technological trends - miniaturization and connectivity - allow the massive installation and use of sensors. It is the miniaturization via micro/nano-electro-mechanical fabrication and CMOS integration which makes them affordable for many new applications, and less power consuming, resulting in autarchic systems, either powered by batteries or energy harvesters. And second, it is the progress in communication technologies which provides almost unlimited access of the connected devices.


For example, in a modern car more than 100 sensors are permanently collecting and evaluating data. The engine is monitored and controlled by sensors, but there are also safety systems, such as the airbag control, permanently supervised by sensors. The progress in the car industry, with respect to energy efficiency and security, was only possible by the massive use of sensor data. Emerging applications are also found in the monitoring of health. Soon there will be 10 billion people on the planet who all want access to medical care. Sensors are among the key technologies, helping to establish a health system affordable for everyone. Other applications are for building infrastructure, where sensors will be used for controlling energy, air condition and flow, supervising water, and monitoring of the structural health of installations. MEMS/NEMS will continue a steady, sustainable double digit growth for the next six years, with 20% compound average annual growth in units and 13% growth in revenues, to become a $21 billion market by 2017 (Frost & Sullivan).




Magnetic dynamics
Photo: DISS
Photo: DISS