Module IES-4002:
Advanced Sensor Systems

Module Facts

Run by School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering

15 Credits or 7.5 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Xianfeng Chen

Overall aims and purpose

This course aims to provide students with a broad introduction of fundamental concepts, principles and analysis techniques of advanced sensors and systems to enable higher level study in the subject. This course will also provide a view of current developments in specific areas of sensor systems. Applications of these sensor systems and their main producers and users are also introduced and discussed.

Course content

• Review of Sensor principles – definitions, desired qualities, sensor system elements, deflection methods, input-output configurations, interfering and modifying inputs. • Introduction of Microsensor systems – Advantage and disadvantages of microsensors, signal conditioning and processing description, advantages of silicon and fibre optic technologies. • Description of components, types and applications of thermal, mechanical, magnetic and chemical advanced sensor systems. • Advanced applications of smart sensors and systems – desired qualities – examples and applications – a look to the future. • The latest development, hot topics, and technology trends.

Learning outcomes mapped to assessment criteria







Understand the advanced sensor systems and the fundamental principles.

Can describe essential aspects and measurement principles of advanced sensor systems. Has a detailed understanding of the principles underlying sensor performance and measurement systems. Has a thorough understanding of the principles underlying sensor performance and measurement systems.

Understand the silicon and fibre optic technologies and recognise the advantages of these in sensor fabrication and operation.

Has an overall knowledge of a range of microsensor systems and fibre optic sensor systems and their applications Can show extensive knowledge and understanding of the underlying principles which determine the operation of a range of microsensor systems and fibre optic sensor systems. Has a comprehensive knowledge of the design, operating principles and applications of a range of microsensor systems and fibre optic sensor systems.

Know the design and operating principles of a range of silicon and fibre optic sensor and systems

Can describe in detail examples of desired qualities and how these are fulfilled in real smart sensor systems. Understands the underlying principles of smart sensors and can discuss potential smart sensor systems. Can list the requirements of smart sensor systems.

Have a detailed knowledge and understanding of desired qualities of smart sensor systems

Have the knowledge of emerging technologies, the latest development and technology trends.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
EXAM Examination 70
GROUP PRESENTATION Ass 1 - Oral Presentation 10
ESSAY Ass 2 - Individual Essay 20

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study 126

Lectures, revision exercises and tutorials.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in

Subject specific skills

  • Identify emerging technologies and technology trends;
  • Apply an understanding and appreciation of continuous improvement techniques
  • Apply underpinning concepts and ideas of engineering;
  • Apply knowledge and understanding of the specialist cognate area of electronic engineering in an international context;
  • Assess and choose optimal methods and approaches for the specification, design, implementation and evaluation of engineering solutions, especially ones that include embedded microprocessors
  • Formulate and analyse requirements and practical constraints of products, processes and services, place them in an engineering context and manage their implementation;
  • Solve problems logically and systematically;
  • Assess and choose optimal methods and approaches for the specification, design, implementation and evaluation of engineering solutions.
  • Systematically review factors affecting the implementation of a project, including safety and sustainability;
  • Access and synthesize information and literature sources;
  • Use both verbal and written communication skills to different target audiences;
  • Analyse and display data using appropriate methods and mathematical techniques;
  • Demonstrate familiarity with relevant subject specific and general computer software packages.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of current advances and contemporary approaches in the discipline and have strategies for keeping that awareness current;
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the need to work safely and comply within relevant legislative and regulatory frameworks;
  • Knowledge and understanding of facts, concepts, principles & theories
  • Problem solving strategies
  • Analyse if/how a system meets current and future requirements
  • Deploy theory in design, implementation and evaluation of systems
  • Knowledge and understanding of commercial and economic issues
  • Knowledge of management techniques to achieve objectives
  • Work as a member of a development team
  • Development of general transferable skills
  • Knowledge of systems architecture
  • System Design
  • Knowledge and/or understanding of appropriate scientific and engineering principles


Talis Reading list

Reading list

Microsensors, MEMS, and Smart Devices, by J.W. Gardner, V.K. Varadan, O.O. Awadelkarim. Wiley, 2001 (particularly Chapter 8)

Fiber Optic Sensors: Fundamentals and Applications, 4th Edition, SPIE Press Book, 2015. Author(s): David A. Krohn etc

Smart Sensor Systems, edited by Gerard C.M. Meijer, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 2008

Fiber Bragg gratings: fundamentals and applications in telecommunications and sensing, A. Othonos, K. Kalli, Artech House, 1999

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module