CNT/MOF composite provides record humidity sensitivity

posted Nov 3, 2017, 12:06 AM by Khaled salama   [ updated Nov 7, 2017, 6:50 AM ]

We report the fabrication of a highly sensitive humidity sensor that is based on composite thin films of HKUST-1 MOF and carbon nanotubes (CNT) demonstrating a 230% increase in sensitivity compared to plain HKUST-1 film. The optimized CNT-HKUST-1 composite thin films are stable, reliable, and have an average sensitivity of about 2.5 × 10
-5 ( Δf / f ) per percent of relative humidity, which is up to ten times better than previously reported QCM-based humidity sensors. The approach presented is facile and paves a promising path towards enhancing the sensitivity of MOF-based sensors. More details can be found at our recently accepted paper and also covered by Nanowerk in an article : CNT/MOF nanocomposite enhance the performance of humidity sensors 
Karumbaiah N. Chappanda, Osama Shekhah, Omar Yassine, Shashikant P. Patole, Mohamed Eddaoudi, and Khaled N. Salama, The quest for highly sensitive QCM humidity sensors: the coating of CNT/MOF composite sensing films as case study, Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, 2017 accepted.

Prof. Salama gives 3 invited talks at ISEE 2017

posted Oct 31, 2017, 8:36 PM by Khaled salama   [ updated Nov 12, 2017, 12:12 AM ]

Prof. Salama will be giving a keynote talk at ISEE 2017 organized by Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on November 29-30, 2017, in addition to two more invited talks.
  The aim of the conference is to provide a forum for regional and international researchers, educators, graduate students and engineers involved in the wide and multi-disciplinary areas of electrical and electronics engineering including microelectronics, communication systems, automation and control, and power and energy systems to disseminate their latest researches and share their innovative ideas.

 Talk 1- Keynote talk: Integrated Wireless Senors: A Hardware Perspective (Nov. 29, 10:30 - 11:30 AM)

Talk 2 - Invited talk: Future Computing Systems: Von Neuman and Beyond (Nov. 29,  3:25 - 3:50 PM)

Talk 3 - Invited talk: Energy-Efficient Interface Circuits for Low-Energy Sensor Nodes (Nov. 30, Morning)

Thắng Nguyễn reflects on work and life at KAUST

 Talk 1- Keynote talk: Integrated Wireless Senors: A Hardware Perspective (Nov. 29, 10:30 - 11:30 AM)

Networked systems of tiny wireless and sensing-enabled devices continue to give birth to a host of new applications that range from medical sensors for image-guided surgery, to distributed image-based surveillance of remote areas for security or environmental reasons. Such applications mandate new requirements in terms of size of the devices as well as the bandwidth required. Extreme requirements for small size packaging of the devices are obvious for many applications including biomedical ones. Fully integrated sensor modules that are capable of harvesting energy, sensing the environment and communicating with other sensors or base stations are becoming a necessity. Despite the development chips for these systems, there continues to be a need for improved implementations of micro-scale detection and processing systems for further convenience, scaling and portability. These systems would include a sensor module (mostly in mems), attached to analog front end circuitry, an analog to digital converter and a wireless communication module. We will present the research conducted at KAUST addressing many of these components. A flagship project demonstrating these concept is a single chip implantable wireless sensor system for Intraocular Pressure Monitoring (IOPM). This system-on-chip (SoC) is battery free and harvests energy from incoming RF signals, consumes 513 W of peak power and when implanted inside the eye, it can communicate over a distance of more than 15 cm.

Talk 2 - Invited talk: Future Computing Systems: Von Neuman and Beyond (Nov. 29,  3:25 - 3:50 PM)
Current CMOS-Based technologies are facing design challenges related to the continuous scaling down of minimum feature size according to Moore’s law. Moreover, the conventional computing architecture is no more an effectual way to fulfill modern applications demands, such as big data analysis, pattern recognition, and vector processing. Therefore, there is an exigent need to shift to new technologies, at both the architecture and the device levels. Recently, memristor devices and structures attracted attention for being promising candidates for this job. Memristor device adds a new dimension for designing novel circuits and systems. In addition, high-density memristor-based crossbar is widely considered to be the essential element for future memory and bio-inspired computing systems. However, there are numerous challenges that need to be addressed before the memristor genuinely replaces current memory and computing technologies. We believe that our contributions to the emerging technology help in pushing it to a next level and shorten the way for better futuristic computing systems.

Talk 3 - Invited talk: Energy-Efficient Interface Circuits for Low-Energy Sensor Nodes (Nov. 30, Morning)

Energy efficiency is a key requirement for wireless sensor nodes, biomedical implants, and wearable devices. The energy consumption of the sensor node needs to be minimized to avoid battery replacement, or even better, to enable the device to survive on energy harvested from the ambient. Capacitive sensors do not consume static power; thus, they are attractive from an energy efficiency perspective. In addition, they can be employed in a wide range of sensing applications, such as pressure, humidity, biological, and chemical sensing. However, the capacitive sensor readout circuit—i.e., the capacitance-to-digital converter (CDC)—can be the dominant source of energy consumption in the system. Thus, the development of energy-efficient CDC architectures is crucial to minimizing the energy consumption of capacitive sensor nodes. In the first part of this talk, we propose several energy-efficient CDC architectures for low-energy sensor nodes. In the second part, we study the matching properties of small integrated capacitors, which are an integral component of energy-efficient CDCs. Despite conventional wisdom, we experimentally illustrate that the mismatch of small capacitors can be directly measured, and we report experimental mismatch measurements for sub-femtofarad integrated capacitors. We also correct the common misconception that lateral capacitors match better than vertical capacitors, and we identify the conditions that make one implementation preferable.

[Video] Altynay reflects on her time at KAUST

posted Oct 31, 2017, 7:54 PM by Khaled salama   [ updated Oct 31, 2017, 7:55 PM ]

A few words from Altynay Kaidarova on her experience at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, in Saudi Arabia. This is a special message in Russian for prospective students who are interested in joining KAUST in the future. We recruited Altynay from Kazakhstan and currently she is a masters student at KAUST working under the supervision of Prof. Jurgen Kosel at the Sensing, Magnetism, and Microsystems lab.

YouTube Video

Cover: Ferroelectric Fractional-Order Capacitors

posted Oct 24, 2017, 3:02 PM by Khaled salama

The Cover Feature
 demonstrates fractional-order capacitors: capacitance with no phase limitation; from theoretical modeling devices to real world products.More information can be found in the Article by A. Agambayev et al.
Agambayev, A., Patole, S. P., Farhat, M., Elwakil, A., Bagci, H. and Salama, K. N. (2017), Ferroelectric Fractional-Order Capacitors. ChemElectroChem. doi:10.1002/celc.201700663
Poly(vinylidene fluoride)-based polymers and their blends are used to fabricate electrostatic fractional-order capacitors. This simple but effective method allows us to precisely tune the constant phase angle of the resulting fractional-order capacitor by changing the blend composition. 

[December 15 Deadline] PhD scholarships available

posted Oct 21, 2017, 12:30 PM by Khaled salama   [ updated Oct 27, 2017, 12:29 AM ]

There are 4 MS/PhD and/or PhD opportunities for senior undergraduates and masters students at the sensors lab at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). We are seeking students from all over the world who bring new perspective, different educational systems, new methods and new ideas to enrich our diverse student body. KAUST has students from over 80 countries coming from 200+ different institutions worldwide. Currently, our lab has students from Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Lebanon. Our lab alumni came from Greece, Russia, India, Egypt, Bangladesh, China, Pakistan, Mexico and Brazil. They ended up pursing opportunities at: USC, CMU, JHU, UMICH, UC-Berkeley and at companies like Mckinsey, ARAMCO, ….  Students receive full tuition scholarship, enjoy free shared accommodation on campus, round trip tickets from their home country, generous tax free monthly stipend, free health (medical and dental) insurance and full access to all of the research, academic and social facilities at KAUST.

 Areas of interest: 
1. Brain-inspired computing 
2. Chemical Sensors 
3. Biosensors and bioelectronics 
4. Sensor interface Circuits 

Requirements : 
1. Students should have EE, physics, materials or CS background. 
2. Excellent GPA (3.5 or above) 
3. Strong knowledge of any of these circuits, fabrication, microelectronics, VLSI knowledge 
4. Past research experience is a plus. 
5. Knowledge of scripting languages (Paython), VHDL and 3D max is a plus. 

Application material: CV, transcripts and names of two references 
Start Date: Fall 2018 with deadline December 2017
Lab Webpage: 

About KAUST: King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is actively recruiting world-class students, faculty and researchers who are committed to meeting the grand challenges of science through bold and collaborative inquiry that focuses on issues of regional and global significance. The diverse and international faculty, staff and student body create a unique multicultural experience, while the beautiful and quiet residential campus favors dedicated research and study. Located on the shores of the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia, KAUST offers superb research facilities, attracting top international faculty, scientists, engineers and students. In the Nature Index Rising Stars, KAUST was ranked #19 in the world of the fastest rising universities for high quality research output. KAUST was also ranked as the world’s top university (#1) in citations per faculty ranking indicator as per QS World University Rankings for 2015-2016 and 2016-2017. In addition, KAUST was ranked #1 in the percentage of international student and #1 in the percentage of international faculty. More information at (

[video] Thắng Nguyễn reflects on work and life at KAUST

posted Oct 10, 2017, 8:48 AM by Khaled salama   [ updated Oct 21, 2017, 2:15 AM ]

Thang Nguyen Quang Thang is a masters student at 
HoChiMinh University of Technology, Vietnam focusing on RF energy harvesting circuits and systems. He received his undergraduate degree from the same institution in electrical engineering. He was an intern at SAVARTI Analog & Mixed Signals IC Design Co., LTD working with the CAD tool team.  His work at KAUST is in collaboration with Prof. HUYNH PHU MINH CUONG, head of Telecommunications Engineering Department at HoChiMinh University of Technology, Vietnam

[video] Jose reflects on Life and Work at KAUST

posted Oct 8, 2017, 12:42 AM by Khaled salama   [ updated Oct 8, 2017, 10:39 AM ]

José Batista de Sales Filho is a masters student at 
the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte - UFRN, Brazil focusing on  Integrated conditioning circuit for multiphase flow investigation using wire-mesh sensor. He received his undergraduate degree from the same institution with a concentration in microelectronics and instrumention. He was an interchange student - M.Sc. Nanoelectronic Systems, TU Dresden, Germany. His work at KAUST is in collaboration with Prof. Sebastian Yuri Catunda and Prof. Diomadson Rodrigues Belfort at the Department of Computer Engineering and Automation, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte - UFRN, Brazil

KAUST's researchers account for half the Arab world's high quality natural science articles

posted Oct 2, 2017, 10:08 AM by Khaled salama   [ updated Oct 2, 2017, 10:09 AM ]

In 2016, KAUST was the principal source of high-quality research by WFC not just in Saudi Arabia, but the entire Arab world. Its researchers account for nearly half the region's WFC.  KAUST is the only Arab country to make it to the nature index at rank 128 world wide. KAUST's profile can be found here.
The Nature Index database tracks the affiliations of high-quality natural science articles, and charts publication productivity for institutions and countries. Article count (AC) includes the total number of affiliated articles. Weighted fractional count (WFC) accounts for the relative contribution of each author to an article, and adjusts for the abundance of astronomy and astrophysics papers. 

Hot Paper: Bio-Inspired CO sensor work accepted at Agnew Chem

posted Sep 28, 2017, 2:15 AM by Khaled salama   [ updated Sep 28, 2017, 3:00 AM ]

Our recent work on carbon monoxide sensors has been accepted and labeled hot paper at the prestigious Agnew Chem journal.  Hot Papers are chosen by the Editors for their importance in a rapidly evolving field of high current interest. This work is in collaboration with Prof. Tim Swager at MIT and Prof Xixiang Zhang at KAUST and is funded through a grant from KAUST's sensors initiative.  We developed an amperometric platform for the detection of CO with voltage-modulated sensitivity using the bio-inspired interaction between CO and iron porphyrin. Our sensors function in oxygenated and humid conditions and have sensitivities to meet the limits of detection required by  OSHA. More details can be found at:
Swager, T. M., Savagatrup, S., Schröder, V., He, X., Lin, S., He, M., Yassine, O., Salama, K. N. and Zhang, X. X., Bio-Inspired Carbon Monoxide Sensors with Voltage-Activated Sensitivity. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1002/anie.201707491

We have been pursuing multiple technologies in our push for electronic nose development and hazardous gas detection. Our recent work in the area can be explored in these papers:
  1. Swager, T. M., Savagatrup, S., Schröder, V., He, X., Lin, S., He, M., Yassine, O., Salama, K. N. and Zhang, X. X., Bio-Inspired Carbon Monoxide Sensors with Voltage-Activated Sensitivity. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1002/anie.201707491
  2. Ayalew Assen, Omar YASSINE, Osama Shekhah, Mohamed Eddaoudi, and Khaled Salama,"MOFs for the Sensitive Detection of Ammonia: Deployment of fcu-MOF Thin-Films as Effective Chemical Capacitive Sensors." ACS Sensors 2017 2 (9), 1294-1301 DOI: 10.1021/acssensors.7b00304.
  3. Muhammad Fahad Farooqui Muhammad Akram Karimi, Khaled Nabil Salama and Atif Shamim, 3D-Printed Disposable Wireless Sensors with Integrated Microelectronics for Large Area Environmental Monitoring" Advanced Materials Technologies, 20172, 1700051 DOI: 10.1002/admt.201700051 [news] [more news]
  4. Omar Yassine, Osama Shekhah, Ayalew H. Assen, Youssef Belmabkhout, Khaled N. Salama and Mohamed Eddaoudi "H2S Sensors: Fumarate-Based fcu-MOF Thin Film Grown on a Capacitive Interdigitated Electrode" , Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 201655, 15930. doi:10.1002/anie.201608780 (back cover)(nanowerk news) (news)
  5. Sapsanis, C.; Omran, H.; Chernikova, V.; Shekhah, O.; Belmabkhout, Y.; Buttner, U.; Eddaoudi, M.; Salama, K.N. Insights on Capacitive Interdigitated Electrodes Coated with MOF Thin Films: Humidity and VOCs Sensing as a Case Study.Sensors15, 18153-18166, 2015.

Bringing Signals into phase

posted Sep 25, 2017, 2:16 AM by Khaled salama

Our recent work on fractional capacitors has been chosen as a back cover of the journal ChemElectroChem and was recently highlighted at the KAUST discovery magazine
 "Bringing signals into phase". In this work, we demonstrated a new simple yet effective realization of fractional capacitors using Poly(vinylidene fluoride)-based polymers and their blends. We can precisely tune the constant phase angle of the resulting fractional order capacitor by changing the blend composition.  e would like to thank the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) for funding this work under Grant No. RGC/3/2385-01.More details at: 
Agamyrat Agambayev, Shashikant P.Patole, Mohamed Farhat, Ahmed Elwakil, Hakan Bagci and Khaled N.Salama "Tunable Ferroelectric Fractional-Order Capacitors", ChemElectroChem, accepted 2017. 

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