/Student project: Precision mechanics for fibre-optic sensing of plant growth

Student project: Precision mechanics for fibre-optic sensing of plant growth

Research & development - Wageningen | More than two weeks ago

The goal of this project is to design, construct, test and iterate to working precision mechanical structure for a fibre-optic probe.

Student project: Precision mechanics for fibre-optic sensing of plant growth

What you will do

Food production is estimated to increase in the near future due to the increase of the global population. Therefore, without further improvements in efficiency, agriculture will become more damaging to the environment. In order to minimise the environmental impact of agriculture, various methods are being employed to decrease waste, minimise resource usage and boost yield. This project is aimed at developing a sensor which will directly monitor the health status of agricultural plants in greenhouses, thereby allowing optimization of yield and minimization of resources and waste.

We believe that direct knowledge of the chemical content (sugars, water, ions etc.) and flow in plant stems, leaves and fruit will allow earlier detection of stressors than can be achieved by manual inspection, or by environmental monitoring. Such monitoring would allow plants to be kept closer to an optimal state than would otherwise be possible. The currently available sensors do not give direct information on the chemical content of plants and so the information is lacking.

OnePlanet has developed a fibre-optic probe designed for measurements in fruit flesh. This probe needs to be adapted so that it can also work in plant stems and leaves.  It would need something much smaller, allow liquid to pass through easily and still prevent back reflections from solid structures; a tough mechanical engineering task!  In short, the tasks envisaged for this project are:

  • Design and construct a new fibre optic probe for plant stems and leaves.
  • Test the probe on plant cuttings and compare with reference measurements and iterate towards a working design.
  • Set up and execute and experiment to test the design on growing plants and further iterate to ensure that the probe is minimally invasive, causing little interruption to the sap flow.
  • Commission the working device and collaborate on experiments with other OnePlanet sensors to provide novel insights into plant status.

What we do for you

In this internship you will have the opportunity to work with cutting-edge technologies and equipment’s, in a young and growing Research Institute with a strategic position (collaboration with several groups within WUR, Radboud, Radboudumc, and imec).

Who you are

  • A bachelor or Master student (HBO or WO) in Mechanical Engineering or a related field.
  • Independent and hands-on-approach in a lab environment.
  • Experienced with CNC machining and 3D printing techniques.
  • Experienced with optical sensors is a bonus.
  • Knowledge or a keen interest in greenhouse horticulture is appreciated.
  • Good with written and verbal English.
  • Available for a (minimal) period of 6 months.
  • Be eligible for a studentship placement in the Netherlands. This means that that non-EU/EEA country students that are studying outside of the Netherlands, need to already have a work-permit to be eligible. 


Does this project sound like an interesting next step in your career at imec? Don’t hesitate to submit your application by clicking on ‘APPLY NOW’.
Got some questions about the recruitment process? Marsha Loomans of the Talent Acquisition Team will be happy to assist you.

Who we are
Accepteer marketing-cookies om deze content te kunnen bekijken.
imec's cleanroom
Accepteer marketing-cookies om deze content te kunnen bekijken.

Verzend deze job naar jouw e-mailadres