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Sensor Technology

Sensors are important for monitoring the environment, measuring explosive gasses and when buying and selling oil and gas. The project is developing sensors for the climate gas methane, and for detection of gas leaks. Another activity is making new types of ultrasonic transducers, which can be used for various acoustic sensors related to the oil and gas industry. The last part of the project is research on entrepreneurship and technology transfer.

UiT    Norut    UiN


Scholarship for women taking MSc on Subsea Sensors

The grant is for taking a two-year MSc-program or the last year of a five-year program ("Sivilingeniør") in Physics or Electrical Engineering, at the University of Tromsø. As part of the degree, the student will do a project related to one of the technological work packages of Subsea Sensors. Information and application: geir.antonsen@uit.no

The project is funded by the Research Council of Norway as part of Research Initiative for Northern Norway (Nordsatsing). The toal budget for 2009-2014 is 61 mill. kr, with 33 mill. kr from the Research Council. The project funds five PhD-positions, two post-docs, researchers, running costs and equipment. Dr. Olav Gaute Hellesø is project leader. 

The project includes national and international collaboration, and with academia, research institutions and companies. The collaboration includes:

Taco Scientific, Prof. Laura Lechuga, Prof. Thomas Huser, Prof. Lars Egil Helseth, Prof. James S. Wilkinson, Fraunhofer IAP, CMR, Breivoll Inspection Technologies, Babson College, SIVA, etc.


The project has five work packages, which are described below.

Optical sensor for measurement of methane in the air

This sensor is based on optical waveguides and integrated optics. The aim is to make a small and very sensitive sensor to detect methane released from the sea and from other sources. The sensor chip will be the same as for subsea detection, while the packaging will be different.

Optical sensor for subsea measurement of methane

The design principle is the same as for the sensor for methane in air, and these two work packages are collaborating closely and sharing a dedicated optics-lab. Prof. Laura Lechuga (CIN2, Barcelona) is connected to this project as adjunct professor and the waveguide chips are made in Barcelona. Taco Scientific is doing parts of the work and will possibly be a partner for commercialization of the sensors.

Ultrasound gas leak detection

Ultrasound is scattered by gas bubbles. The scattered and reflected signal is dependent on the diameter of the bubbles, the concentration, the type of gas and the pressure. Measurements are done on finding these relationships between physical parameters and the detected signal. The aim is to use this knowledge to detect smaller leaks and at larger depths than previously.

Bubbling research. Hydrophone on upper left side. Bubbling research. Hydrophone on upper left side.


Process research and development of new ultrasonic transducers

An ultrasound transducer can both emit and detect sound. New material and new fabrication methods for ultrasound transducers are investigated. A lab for fabrication and characterization of the transducers has been established. It is particularly focused on transducers that can be fixed on a flexible support, so an array of transducers can be attached to surfaces that are not flat, e.g. pipelines.


Technology entrepreneurship and university-industry technology transfer
in geographically dispersed regions

The main goals of this work package are: 1) to develop a better understanding of the type or resources leading to the establishment of and growth in technology based firms (e.g. infrastructure, financing, knowledge, networks), 2) to develop a better understanding of the role of research in the establishment and growth of new technology based firms, 3) to develop a better understanding of technology transfer from research institutions and how this contributes to innovation in industry, 4) to develop a better understanding of how policy makers and support agencies can contribute to technology transfer and technology based industry development, and 5) to build a leading research group on these topics at the University of Nordland.


Some resent publications:



  • Rasmussen, E. and R. Sørheim ”Obtaining early-stage financing for technology entrepreneurship: reassessing the demand-side perspective.” Venture Capital: An International Journal of Entrepreneurial Finance, Vol 14(2-3): 77-89.
  • Rasmussen, E. and Rice, M. “A framework for government support mechanisms aimed at enhancing university technology transfer: The Norwegian case.” International Journal of Technology Transfer and Commercialisation Vol 11(1/2): 1- 25.
  • Rasmussen, E. and Gulbrandsen, M. “Government support programs to promote academic entrepreneurship: A principal-agent perspective.” European Planning Studies Vol 20(4): 527-546.
  • Clausen, T.H., Guldbrandsen, M., Fagerberg, J. Mobilizing for Change: A Study of Research Units in Emerging Scientific Fields. Research Policy, vol. 41 (7).
  • Clausen, T.H., Sapprasert, K., Pohjola. M., Verspagen, B. Innovation strategies as a source of persistent innovation. Industrial & Corporate Change, Vol.21 (3).
  • Johansen, V., Clausen, T.H. Promoting the entrepreneurs of tomorrow: entrepreneurship education and start-up intentions among schoolchildren. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Vol. 13 (2).
  • F. Melandsø and S. Jacobsen, Improved ultrasonic near-field scanning using dual-channel digital cancellation network, Electronics Letters, 47, 5
  • Clausen, T. and Rasmussen, E. ‘Open innovation policy through intermediaries: the industry-incubator programme in Norway.’ Technology Analysis and Strategic Management 23(1): 75-85.
  • Freitas, I.M. B., Clausen, T.H., Fontana, R., Verspagen, B. Formal and informal external linkages and firms innovative strategies. A cross-country comparison. Journal of Evolutionary Economics 21:91-119.
  •  Clausen, T.H. Examining the Schumpeter hypothesis in the context of closed and open innovation: survey evidence from Norway and Sweden. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Vol. 12, No.2 pp. 158 – 172