Imec and UGent spinoff Sentea to commercialize fiber-optic sensing solutions

Sentea will develop and market advanced silicon-photonics-based fiber-optic sensing solutions for structural health monitoring.

Sentea's management team from left to right: Thijs Spuesens (CTO), Karsten Verhaegen (CEO), Ronny Bockstaele (COO). (Image credit: imec)
Sentea's management team from left to right: Thijs Spuesens (CTO), Karsten Verhaegen (CEO), Ronny Bockstaele (COO). (Image credit: imec)

IMAGE: Sentea's management team from left to right: Thijs Spuesens (CTO), Karsten Verhaegen (CEO), Ronny Bockstaele (COO). (Image credit: imec)

Ghent University (UGent; Ghent, Belgium) and imec (Leuven, Belgium) today announced the incorporation of Sentea, a spin-off from their world leading Photonics Research Group. An initial 1.6 million Euro in funding was raised from Fidimec, Finindus, PMV and QBIC II and the founders. Sentea will develop and market advanced silicon-photonics-based fiber-optic sensing solutions. These will be used to continuously monitor engineering structures for signs of damages that over time could lead to catastrophic failure, as well as to control industrial installations to maximize their efficiency.

According to the new market research report from MarketsandMarkets, the structural health monitoring market is estimated to grow from USD 1.48 billion in 2018 to USD 3.38 billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 17.93% between 2018 and 2023. The major factors driving the growth of the structural health monitoring market include concerns about catastrophic failure due to aging infrastructures in the developed countries, stringent government regulations pertaining to the sustainability of structures, and the superior benefits of structural health monitoring.

"Integrating all optical functions into a single silicon photonics component will allow us to make highly accurate, small and robust fiber optic sensor interrogators. Silicon photonics is also very cost-effective, which makes fiber optic sensing affordable for a wide range of new markets and applications and facilitates universal and continues monitoring of structures," said Karsten Verhaegen, CEO of Sentea. "Key potential customers have expressed great interest in Sentea's solutions, stating that better infrastructure lifetime management and process control makes them more competitive in their respective markets."

To develop its first products and bring them to market, the company raised 1.6 million Euro in funding from a consortium of investors including Fidimec, Finindus, PMV and QBIC II.

Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) is a process in which engineering structures are continuously monitored throughout their lifetime for early signs of damages that over time could lead to catastrophic failure. By detecting any damage early on, and repairing or replacing the damaged part, catastrophic failure and the resulting downtime and huge repair costs can be avoided. A range of SHM solutions, such as fiber optic sensing, have found their way into engineering structures such as wind turbines, nuclear power plants, ships, trains, airplanes, buildings, bridges, dams, tunnels, heavy machinery, blast furnaces and so on.

Sentea aspires to be a market leader in advanced fiber-optic solutions for structural health and process monitoring. The company was incorporated in 2018 as a spin-off of the Photonics Research Group of Ghent University and imec to commercialize more than a decade of research in silicon photonics and fiber-optic sensing. Benefitting from the advantages of silicon photonics, Sentea will develop and market fiber optic sensing interrogators that offer high accuracy, small size and advanced functionality, positioned for deployment in a wide range of applications and markets, hence enabling continuous monitoring of structural integrity to become the standard. Sentea is privately held by a consortium of investors including Fidimec, Finindus, PMV and QBIC II.

SOURCE: imec; https://www.imec-int.com/en/articles/ugent-and-imec-launch-fiber-optic-sensing-spin-off-sentea

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