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The Electrical Engineering Handbook Sensors, Nanoscience, Biomedical Engineering, and Instruments

The Electrical Engineering Handbook Sensors, Nanoscience, Biomedical Engineering, and Instruments


 The Electrical Engineering Handbook Sensors, Nanoscience, Biomedical Engineering,  and Instruments


Sensors are critical components in all measurement and control systems. The need for sensors that generate an electronic signal closely followed the advent of the microprocessor and computers. Together with the ever present need for sensors in science and medicine, the demand for sensors in automated manufacturing  and environmental monitoring is rapidly growing.

 In addition, small, inexpensive sensors are finding their way into all sorts of consumer products, from children’s toys to dishwashers to automobiles. Because of the vast variety of useful things to be sensed and sensor applications, sensor engineering is a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary field of endeavor. This chapter introduces some basic definitions, concepts, and features of sensors, and illustrates them with several examples. The reader is directed to the references and the sources listed under Further Information for more details and examples.


There are many terms which are often used synonymously for sensor, including transducer, meter, detector, and gage. Defining the term sensor is not an easy task; however, the most widely used definition is that which has been applied to electrical transducers by the Instrument Society of America (ANSI MC6.1, 1975): ‘‘Transducer—
A device which provides a usable output in response to a specified measurand.’’ A transducer is more generally defined as a device which converts energy from one form to another. Usable output can be an optical, electrical, chemical, or mechanical signal. In the context of electrical engineering, however,ausable output is usually an electrical signal. The measurand is a physical, chemical, or biological property or condition to be measured.


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