Sensing Minute Displacements down to the Picometer


In high-precision industry there is a great demand for sensors. For example, the newest lithography machines use over 700 position sensors to monitor and control the delicate lithographic process, by sensing the displacement of the most critical machine parts in the sun-nanometer range. Existing sensors are pretty sophisticated, bulky, and with limited performance. In the group of Industrial Electronic Instrumentation we are currently working on extending the limits of the eddy-current position sensors by developing a novel sensor design that integrates a chip that is currently designed within the group.

Despite their advantages, eddy-current sensors are yet rarely used in high-precision application, due to their limited sensitivity. In this project we try to extend the limits of eddy-current-based position sensing by increasing significantly the excitation frequency. Due to the higher frequency, the eddy-currents are generated closer to the surface of the measurement target, thus allowing to obtain higher sensor sensitivity and stability, but also leading to physical phenomena that are yet not fully understood.eddy current probe

In this graduate project you will be part of the multidisciplinary mechatronic and micro-electronic team that works on the new sensor concept. The project combines fundamental research on the eddy current sensor's physics with the development and validation of the new sensor concept. The project will involve modelling, experimental work and sensor prototype design. You will be able to develop your skills in electromagnetic modeling and the design of a sensor system in close collaboration with electronic interface design.
A special financial allowance is available for the graduate student in this project.




Stoyan Nihtianov

Johan Vogel