MUNICH, Germany Ė An electric potential sensor that promises to be highly disruptive in multiple markets and that has been in development at the University of Sussex in England for more than eight years, is set to be manufactured and commercialized by Plessey Semiconductors Ltd.
Plessey (Roborough, England) has agreed technology license terms with the University of Sussex, although Michael LeGoff, CEO of Plessey, declined to reveal the details or the nature of its exclusivity at a press conference a the Electronica exhibition here. Plessey is a recently-formed company that has taken over the products, IP and a wafer fabrication facility formerly associated with the name.
The sensor can be used to measure the electric potential without drawing current according to the developer Professor Robert Prance of the university's Centre for Physical Electronics and Quantum Technology. "It's the almost perfect voltmeter. Electrically non-invasive and with minimal field disturbance," said Prance.
The main feature of the sensor is the electronically-enhanced input impedance achieved by the use of feedback techniques leading to input impedances as high as 10^17 ohms at 1-Hz. These sensors can then function as voltmeters for ac signals from various sources provided the input impedance is much larger than the sensor-source impedance.
Sensors made by the university research team have demonstrated a sensitivity of microvolts per meter and an accuracy of 2 percent.