Qian Receives TechConnect Innovation Award
ECE Research Assistant Professor Zhenyun Qian received the TechConnect 2019 Innovation Award for his research on "Miniaturized Zero-Power Flame Detectors for Ubiquitous Fire Monitoring".
State-of-the-art sensors consume electrical power continually to scan the environment and process the data even when the signal of interest is not present. Our group has recently developed first-of-their-kind light sensors working in infrared (IR) spectral range that do not consume any power in standby. The sensor harvests the energy contained in the IR signal of interest to mechanically create a conducting channel between two electrical contacts without the need of any additional power source. IR radiation is everywhere around us: radiators, car exhaust fumes, fires and even human bodies, they all emit IR in different wavelengths. Our zero-power infrared (ZIR) sensors not only can detect the IR radiation without using power, but also differentiate between the IR sources through their emission spectrum. Therefore, an extremely low false alarm rate is guaranteed when the sensors are configured to detect a specific IR source. By leveraging the mature semiconductor manufacturing processes, our miniaturized sensors can be produced at high volume with very low cost per unit. Equipped with low-power and long-range wireless connectivity, the zero-power flame detectors based on our groundbreaking technology will enable ubiquitous fire monitoring in warehouses and the wilderness for several sectors.