The UT is launching nine public-private research projects in collaboration with Holland High Tech, the High-Tech Systems and Materials top sector (TKI HTSM). Together with Holland High Tech and industrial partners, the university invests 11.7 million in research ranging from innovations for the energy transition, semiconductor equipment, improved cancer diagnoses, personalised treatment for osteoarthritis patients, to enhanced cybersecurity technologies.
The projects, initiated through the Top Technology Twente programme ‘Connecting Industries’, aim to stimulate innovation and address industrial and societal challenges.
- Free Piston Stirling Cryocooler
Prof. Dr. Ir. Srini Vanapalli (Faculty of S&T)
Refrigeration techniques used to reach cryogenic temperatures around 80 Kelvin (-193 degrees Celsius) in medical and high-tech applications use fluids that contribute much more to global warming than CO2. Legislation to phase out these substances resulted in alternatives like the pulse tube cryocoolers that use high-pressure helium gas. However, the downside of this technique is the low thermodynamic efficiency of these systems. At the same time, the cold chain sector for transporting vaccines and food has expanded rapidly in the past years due to the development of Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs), so-called “living” drugs, which are temperature-sensitive with limited lifespans. Therefore, ‘cleaner’ cooling solutions are required.
This project aims to develop an efficient cryocooler using the Free Piston Stirling Platform developed by MEC. The manufacturing expertise gained in developing the engine will be leveraged and used to develop the cryocooler. The key component of the Stirling Cryocooler is the regenerator where the hot and cold streams flow in the same channel, but at different times. Heat is stored for a half cycle in the heat capacity of the porous material. Porous materials with high permeability, smaller pores, smaller wall thickness and high porosity need to be investigated.
Private partner: MEC.
- Data-Driven Analysis For Hybrid X-Ray Metrology (Dart)
DR. IR. IGOR MAKHOTKIN (FACULTY OF S&T), DR. MATTHIAS SCHLOTTBOM (FACULTY OF EEMCS)
In this project, characterisation of thin film nanostructures for various applications (e.g. semiconductor materials, extreme ultraviolet (EUV) and X-ray mirrors, and coatings for photovoltaics) will be addressed. State of the art X-ray scattering techniques offer rapid, low cost and versatile capabilities to obtain essential information about thin films and their interface structure, but unlike microscopy, measured data must be analysed using model-based approaches to solve problems that presently cannot be automated.
UT researchers and Malvern Panalytical engineers will jointly develop and test fast physics-driven and human-independent minimisation algorithms capable of solving X-ray scattering analysis tasks without requiring expert guidance and capable of providing statistical information on reconstruction.
Private partner: Malvern Panalytical.
- Microreator-Assisted Carbonation Of Olivine To Study Co2 Negative Building Materials (Mc02)
DR. IR. JEROEN VOLLENBROEK, PROF. DR. IR. MATHIEU ODIJK (FACULTY OF EEMCS)
The carbonations of olivine (a magnesium iron silicate - (Mg,Fe)2SiO4), is considered as a possible solution to capture, store and repurpose CO2. Paebbl is interested in carbonating olivine on an industrial scale, thereby producing materials with economic value for e.g., the concrete and paper industry. The carbonation reaction of CO2 with olivine is generally considered a slow and poorly understood process. Since our society needs to act on climate change urgently, a better understanding of the reaction kinetics during the olivine carbonation process is crucial to realize this dream of CO2 repurposing.
The chemical know-how provided by the high-pressure/high-temperature microreactors developed in this project, will provide Paebbl with important information as to how to make their pilot olivine carbonation plant, that is currently being built in Rotterdam, run as efficiently as possible. Any insight obtained by the in-operando study of reaction kinetics, product formation, and impact of specific chemical composition are of immediate use for their industrial scale processes.
Private partner: Paebbl.
- Check Application Light (Cal)
DR. IR. PETER BOSCH, DR. IR. ALEX CHIUMENTO, PROF. DR. PAUL HAVINGA (FACULTY OF EEMCS)
Secure maintenance of IoT (Internet of Things) systems is increasingly important for industry and society at large. As we are using automation more than ever before and IoT systems are used to control critical infrastructure, societies that depend on such systems are also more at risk to accidents and hacking events. This project aims to develop novel technologies and systems that are needed for software security personnel to act quickly and to initiate automatic remediation processes.
Specifically, the project will develop early warning techniques when a hosted and distributed application on IoT devices and its OT back end in a SaaS offering is showing behaviour that is out of the ordinary. CAL uses a set of application sensors in the distributed applications to assess whether an application is behaving normally, or if an application is behaving erratically due to security or IoT/OT breakage events. The project is therefore similar to a car’s “Check Engine Light” – it is an early indicator engine service.
Private partner: Cisco Systems.
- Accurate Real-Time Parameter Estimation For Instrumentation And Condition Monitoring
DR. IR. MICHIEL BEIJEN, DR. IR. WOUTER HAKVOORT (FACULTY OF ET)
System identification and parameter estimation techniques have been used for many years for the characterization of complex mechatronic systems such as wafer scanners, electron microscopes, medical equipment and measurement systems. Classical methods consider step response or frequency response function measurements and are mainly suitable for off-line identification of linear time-invariant systems. In recent years, the availability of big data and increased computational power has provided new possibilities to extend current techniques to real-time identification of non-linear and time-varying systems.
The scientific goal of the project is to develop algorithms in a generic sense and for a broad range of applications. The technological goal is to apply these new algorithms on meters and monitoring devices for industrial and medical applications, while it may also be applicable for advanced instrumentation equipment related to the roadmap Advanced Instrumentation.
Private partner: Demcon High Tech Systems.
- High-Speed Immersion Lithography
PROF. DR. DETLEF LOHSE, PROF. DR. JACCO SNOEIJER (FACULTY OF S&T)
The ‘workhorse’ at ASML for lithography machines is still immersion technology, i.e., lithography under a film of water, allowing for smaller structures on the wafers than standard lithography in the air. The roadmap for this technology requires higher velocities for the wafers pulled under the immersion hood to cope with the required production rate of these scanner machines. However, this is hindered by the entrainment of bubbles into the water and the loss of water from the film. Fundamental knowledge of the fluid dynamics of these processes must be improved before progress towards higher speeds is possible.
The main objective of the project is to develop a deep understanding of moving contact line instabilities in the required regime of very high velocities and accelerations. This is achieved by combining dedicated experiments and direct numerical simulations with the Volume-of-Fluid method. With this understanding ASML and Demcon should be able to push the onset of instabilities towards higher velocities, allowing for faster production of wafers. This will drive down semiconductor production costs and increase the energy efficiency of wafer production.
Private partners: ASML, Demcon High Tech Systems, Demcon Multiphysics.
- Increasing The Dynamic Load Capacity Of Electricity Cables (IDLEC)
DR. JAN BRAAKSMA, PROF. DR. IR. TIEDO TINGA, DR. IR. ANNEMIEKE MEGHOE, DR. IR. WILLEM HAANSTRA (FACULTY OF ET)
Liander, as an electricity distribution system operator in the Netherlands, manages and maintains a wide range of interconnected systems in the electricity grid, from transformers and substations to underground cables. Increased, decentralized, and fluctuating demand for electricity transport is causing congestion in existing medium and low voltage and distribution grids. Therefore, full utilization of existing networks is of utmost importance to alleviate immediate congestion and to keep the energy transition going.
This project builds on a well-established tradition of the UT to advance research in the areas of smart maintenance and aims to develop a framework (methods, models, monitoring systems) that enables Liander to dynamically load existing infrastructure components by briefly operating them above their nominal design capacity in situations where this can be safely achieved. Setting dynamic thresholds and implementing real-time monitoring of key performance parameters such as electrical current and temperature are crucial in managing the degradation during the life cycle. In addition, a health monitoring plan is needed to implement maintenance policies for dynamic loading in a timely manner.
Private partner: Alliander.
- Photoacoustic-Enriched Transrectal Ultrasound Imaging For Improved Prostate Cancer Diagnosis
PROF. SRIRANG MANOHAR(FACULTY OF S&T), DR. JEROEN VELTMAN (FACULTY OF S&T), PROF. DR. IR. ERIK KOFFIJBERG (FACULTY OF BMS)
In the EU in 2020, prostate cancer represented 23% of new cancer cases and accounted for 9.9% of cancer-related deaths in men. Diagnosis involves transrectal ultrasound (TRUS)-guided biopsy, based on abnormal digital rectal palpation or elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. TRUS-guided biopsy involves uniform sampling of 12 cores throughout the prostate but does not specifically target malignant regions. Each year in Europe and the USA, a million of these biopsies are conducted under local anaesthesia taking approximately 30 minutes each. However, despite being the gold standard, TRUS-guided biopsy can miss up to 47% of tumours and under-diagnose up to 38%. Furthermore, the untargeted sampling method leads to the detection of low-risk tumours that may not be harmful, resulting in over-diagnosis, unnecessary surveillance and over-treatment.
The key scientific objective is to optimize and enable photoacoustic-enriched TRUS. Photoacoustics can visualize blood vessels and measure blood oxygen saturation (sO2). This is relevant because higher vascularity and lower sO2 are important functional biomarkers in malignancies. The technical goal is to optimize the diagnostic capabilities of the hybrid modality in an endorectal probe under development by Seno Medical and investigate how the technology can be brought into clinical practice and society. The integrated feature set of PeTRUS will provide a real-time map of ROIs in the gland for a targeted biopsy that can potentially become the new gold standard.
Private partner: Seno Medical.
- Towards Precision Treatment For Advanced Osteoarthritis (Toptreat)
PROF. DR. IR. NICO VERDONSCHOT (FACULTY OF ET), PROF. DR. MARCEL KARPERIEN (FACULTY OF S&T), PROF. DR. IR. ERIK KOFFIJBERG (FACULTY OF BMS), PROF. DR. JAAP BUURKE (FACULTY OF EEMCS)
TopTreat is a large R&D programme in which the ReumaNederland Foundation, UT, RUMC, several hospitals, Roessingh R&D, two companies and the Dutch Ministry of Defence join forces to enhance treatment options and quality of life for osteoarthritis patients. Osteoarthritis (wearing down of the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of bones) will be the most prevalent chronic disease in 2040 in the Netherlands and is associated with high healthcare costs, disability and substantial negative impact on patients’ quality of life. At this moment, prediction and treatment options are still limited, the outcomes of existing interventions are suboptimal, and knowledge to match treatment approaches to individual patient-profiles is lacking.
Through the TopTreat programme, the consortium aims to generate a unique and highly accurate technology-enabling platform that should enable sophisticated phenotyping of patients, joint-on-a-chip technology, ambulant motion and gait sensor analyses, and biomechanical modelling of joint dynamics and cartilage stress levels in order to collect more specific osteoarthritis disease characteristics. Data-driven prognostic modelling and artificial intelligence allow to tailor the most optimal treatment to the needs of individual osteoarthritis patients.
Partners: ReumaNederland Foundation, RadboudUMC, Sint Maartenskliniek Research, Reumastichting Sint Maartenskliniek, Roessingh R&D, ATRO Medical, Moveshelf, Twente Graduate School, Dutch Ministry of Defence.
Within these projects, 18 PhD candidates and four post-doctoral researchers get the opportunity to develop new technologies along the roadmaps Health Care, Semiconductor Equipment, High-Tech Materials, ICT, Systems Engineering, Smart Industry and Advanced Instrumentation of the top sector Holland High Tech.