The International Award for Instrumentation and Measurement Association for the year 2022 goes to the Tunisian Olfa Kanoun

Professor Cannon was recognized this year for her pioneering work in advancing impedance spectroscopy from laboratory scale to process-ready sensors.

Tunisian Professor Olfa Kanoun , Professor of Measurement and Sensor Technology at Chemnitz University of Technology in Germany, received the International Technical Award of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in its 2022 edition.

The Instrumentation and Measurement Society is the world's largest association of engineers and scientists in the field of electrical engineering. Its annual award is given to senior scientists for their outstanding contributions and leadership in the development of measurement systems and methods.

Professor Cannon was recognized this year for her pioneering work in advancing impedance spectroscopy from laboratory scale to process-ready sensors, and is expected to receive her award on May 18 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Professor Olfa Kannon (right) years of research in the field of metrology (source Al Jazeera)
Alpha Cannon (right) leads today a laboratory that includes dozens of researchers (Al-Jazeera)

Olfa Cannon years of research in the field of metrology

Olfa Kannon graduated from the Technical University of Munich, Germany, in 1996, majoring in electrical engineering and information technology, and obtained a Ph.D. in 2001 from the Institute of Measurement and Automation Technology, Bundeswehr University Munich.

From 2001 to 2006, she founded a research group on impedance spectroscopy. In 2007, she became Professor of Measurement and Sensor Technology at Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany.

Today, Canon leads a laboratory of dozens of researchers focusing on energy-sensitive wireless sensors, physical and chemical sensors based on carbon nanomaterials, and impedance spectroscopy. Professor Cannon has also led many basic research projects and collaborates with more than 40 industry firms.

She has also published more than 550 research papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and her work has been cited more than 6,000 times. She has written 14 books and is preparing to publish two more books. It was also ranked among the top 2% of the world's top scientists on two occasions (2019 and 2020) by Stanford University.

One measuring system with multiple uses

In her interview with Al-Jazeera Net via e-mail, Professor Olfa Kannon confirmed that the award is considered the harvest of more than 20 years of research and laboratory work and stated that the measurement system that she developed was the result of systematic contributions that sought to pass from the laboratory method that requires complex and expensive measurement equipment to systems An accurate and lower-cost automated measurement that can be used outside the laboratory, in applications as diverse as electrochemical battery monitoring, food product quality assessment, and water quality monitoring.

The Tunisian researcher said, "We succeeded in developing the measurement system in a new way by using a simple electronic design and implementing signal processing methods, which can be run automatically without the need for human intervention as is the case in the usual laboratory measurement. We have come up with systems that can measure resistance spectra very quickly or in a wide frequency range.

She explained that the new integrated systems have been implemented to diagnose batteries in electric cars and energy storage systems, as well as to diagnose cables, and to measure vital calibrations on the human body to diagnose muscles or recognize gestures, for example. She adds that the same systems can be implemented to assess the quality of food as the quality of meat, milk or olive oil.

"It is also important to use impedance spectroscopy embedded systems for sensors in general, as measurement quality can be improved by measuring more than one quantity at a time or by independent measurement on influencing factors," she says.

A new generation of sensors

About her adoption of impedance spectroscopy techniques, their advantages and ways of adapting them to develop sensor systems, Prof. Olfa Kannon explains that in impedance spectroscopy, a small excitation is given to the system and the response to it is measured. And by analyzing the excitation and response, we can calculate the impedance, as tests are generally performed on several frequencies, so that it becomes a full spectrum. The main advantage is that the spectrum includes 3 dimensions of data and thus can provide deep information about the system.

Because physical phenomena react differently on frequency, as we measure a wide range of frequencies, we can measure and separate different phenomena. Thus we can measure two or more quantities of measurement with the same sensor or with the same experiment.

Professor Cannon adds, “In our research, we can implement the same method for different subjects, as the measurement system in each case may need to meet different requirements. Due to our long experience (since 2000) and our knowledge of system design including hardware and software, we are able to design appropriate measurement systems and enable Using the method in the field without the need for large devices or human decisions.

Professor Cannon supervises the organization of the annual international workshop on impedance spectroscopy (source Al Jazeera)
Professor Cannon supervises the organization of the annual international workshop on impedance spectroscopy (Al-Jazeera).

Arab experiences

Despite the many years she spent in Germany, which enabled her to reach the highest ranks in the scientific and knowledge ladder in the field of measurement systems, Professor Olfa Kannon expressed her keenness to link the German laboratories with their Arab counterparts and to be open to Arab competencies and researchers.

Olfa Kannon says, "We have close cooperation with many researchers in Arab countries in general, and especially with a number of universities in Tunisia and Jordan. We cooperate in developing sensors, signal processing, and wireless sensors for the Internet of Things, by providing transportation facilities, scholarships, and provision of means and equipment.”

Professor Cannon adds that the cooperation also includes projects of the European Commission, which mainly finance research activities.

Since 2008, Professor Cannon has supervised the organization of the Annual International Workshop on Impedance Spectroscopy (IWIS), which is a leading international event in this field in which experts from all over the world participate, including experts from North Africa and the Middle East.

Regarding her most prominent future goals, Professor Olfa Cannon explains that she aspires to develop more methodologies for designing measurement and signal processing systems to facilitate the use of this method automatically by researchers and engineers. She also aspires to support cooperation with scientists and industrialists to promote the dissemination of resistance spectroscopy techniques and their use in many sectors and work with them to achieve New solutions to achieve higher levels of accuracy at lower costs.

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