Nano Science and Technology Institute

Symposium Spotlight: "Sensors – Chemical, Physical and Bio"

By: Regina Ramazzini

TechConnect speaks with Dalia Yablon, Symposium Chair of the "Sensors - Chemical, Physical and Bio" symposium being held at TechConnect World Innovation Conference next May.

  Dalia Yablon

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your role within your organization.

Dalia Yablon of SurfaceChar, a surface characterization based consulting company.  I am a physical chemist who worked over a decade in the oil and gas industry at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering. At ExxonMobil I have served as a Program Leader on Harsh Environment Sensing where I led the development of mechanical and chemical sensors that could operate in caustic and high temperature environments found in upstream and downstream environments.

I have been involved with the Nanotech conference since 2010. I started as a speaker in Nanoscale Materials characterization symposium, and then had the pleasure of co-organizing it since 2011 with Greg Haugstad and Pierre Panine. In the past 2 years, my role has expanded beyond the Nanoscale Materials characterization into organization of other symposia including sensors

Please tell us about your symposium entitled, “Sensors – Chemical, Physical and Bio” - what are the areas of greatest interest/excitement in this field, and what type of applications are possible.

This is a newly focused topic for the sensors symposium for the conference – it is really focused on devices and applications.  For devices, we are focused on sensing chemical species (such as detection of hydrocarbon, thiols, or even molecular recognition), physical properties (temperature, vibration, strain) and photonics.  We will also explore sensors in a variety of environments – from harsh low temperature and pressure in space to high temperature, caustic, and fluid environments of oil reservoirs.

What can we expect to see from innovation and applications in the next 5-10 years?

Sensing continues to penetrate into so many diverse applications. With that, miniaturization, automation, and robotics will increasingly become an important part of the devices as they become more autonomous and “smart” to explore increasingly challenging and hostile environments.  This is coupled with novel materials that can be used in sensing devices both to detect new materials and properties, but just as importantly, to continue to improve on the cost and performance of existing devices.  Nanoscale technology both in the application and material space will continue to drive improvements in sensor fabrication and performance.

Please tell us about the Sensors symposium you chair at the TechConnect World Innovation Conference. What topics are you focusing on, who are the invited speakers?

Last year’s sensors symposium covered areas in diagnostics and imaging. This year we have separated out the sensors symposium into its own standalone symposium. The other symposium is now entitled “Diagnostics and Bio-imaging”.

We have a diverse set of speakers from industry, government labs and academia.  For example, Cy Wilson will present an overview of sensing opportunities for NASA and aerospace and Martin Poitzsch from Aramco Research Center will present on cutting edge nanoprobes research for oil reservoir sensing.  Dorothy Farrell from NIH will give an overview of sensing in biomedical applications, specifically cancer. We also have Radislav Potyrailo of GE who designs sensors for environmental applications and Ken Loh of UCSD who will discuss sensors for defense. We’ll be covering a wide variety of application space! 

Is there anything else you would like to say about your program at the upcoming TechConnect World Innovation Conference?

Something I’m excited about is the addition of sensors for robotics; this topic will be brand new for us. By organizing a stand-alone symposium with this dedicated topic, we are planning for the expansion of chemical, physical, mechanical, and optical sensors. These devices and applications should turn out to be a larger part of this symposium than we’ve had in the past.


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