ALERT Researchers Matteo Rinaldi and Zhenyun Qian are awarded a $550K NSF Grant and patent

ALERT Researchers Professor Matteo Rinaldi and Research Assistant Professor Zhenyun Qian were awarded a $550K NSF grant for “Zero Power Wireless Flame Detector for Ubiquitous Fire Monitoring” In May 2020.  This award was made through NSF’s technology translation program, Partnerships for Innovation. The goal of the award is to develop a novel micromechanical flame detector which will consume near-zero power while in standby mode until triggered by the specific infrared (IR) signature emitted by a flame. Drs. Rinaldi and Qian will be working with United Technologies Corporation to develop a prototype meeting the demanding national flame detector standards that include a high level of system robustness and stability with respect to environmental variabilities such as extreme temperature and vibration. This planned wireless flame detector is intended to operate under conditions where conventional detectors are limited due to harsh environmental conditions and the zero-power consumption aspect will reduce the cost associated with standard sensor hardware.

Drs. Rinaldi and Qian were also awarded a patent for “Zero power plasmonic microelectromechanical device” in May 2020 related to their technology development for their ALERT Project R2-B.3. This research involves the development of ultra-miniaturized, low-cost, wireless IR sensors which are capable of continuously monitoring for thermal radiation associated with a threat (such as human intrusion) while consuming no power in standby mode.

Dr. Rinaldi’s research with ALERT focuses on the development of a new technology platform capable of performing multiple chemical analyses including gravimetric analysis, IR spectroscopy, and thermal analysis in a miniaturized footprint. The demonstrated technology overcomes fundamental scientific and engineering development challenges, enabling the implementation of a new generation of trace detectors that provide near real-time detection, high sensitivity, and high specificity for a targeted group of explosives, and resulting in very low false positive and false negative rates. Furthermore, the novel zero-power sensing microsystems developed in his ALERT project can enable unattended human detection for border protection by eliminating sensor maintenance cost associated with conventional detectors. Read more about Matteo Rinaldi’s work in Multi-Functional Nano-Electro-Opto-Mechanical (NEOM) Sensing Platform.

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