June 25, 2024 10:00–15:30 CEST

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COMSOL Day: Sensor Technology

See what is possible with multiphysics modeling

Sensors convert signals between different physical quantities, which means that, by nature, their operation almost always involves multiple physics phenomena. Using modeling and simulation software that can accurately describe these multiphysics processes is highly effective for designing and optimizing sensing devices.

The COMSOL Multiphysics® software provides comprehensive functionality for coupling the physics phenomena that occur in MEMS devices. For example, electrostatic, piezoelectric, or piezoresistive mechanisms can be modeled in combination with structural mechanics, fluid flow, and heat transfer. The software also facilitates accurate descriptions of biosensor mechanisms based on electrochemical, optical, thermal, and acoustic principles and position sensor mechanisms based on electromagnetic principles. These capabilities, combined with functionality for optimization, sensitivity analysis, and uncertainty quantification (UQ), make the COMSOL Multiphysics® platform extremely effective for sensor design.

Join us for this COMSOL Day to get an overview of the software’s capabilities for sensor design and optimization. You will learn from keynote speakers how COMSOL Multiphysics® has helped them in their R&D work. Technical sessions will cover MEMS, chemical, and position sensing, as well as optimization, sensitivity analysis, and UQ.



Sensors are integral parts of almost every technical appliance we use in our daily lives, including cell phones, consumer electronics, transport systems, and medical devices. Their sensing mechanism is often based on the coupling of several physics phenomena, so-called multiphysics.

The COMSOL Multiphysics® software offers a uniquely specialized modeling and simulation (M&S) environment that can define a wide range of processes that include electrical, mechanical, thermal, fluidic, optical, and chemical phenomena. These phenomena can be coupled to model and simulate the conversion of measured quantities into signals with high precision and sensitivity, optimizing sensor operation.

Join us in this session for an overview of how COMSOL Multiphysics® is used for sensor simulations. The session will also highlight how COMSOL Compiler™ is leveraged to create custom standalone simulation apps and digital twins, making modeling and simulation accessible to stakeholders involved in design and manufacturing processes.


The COMSOL Multiphysics® software includes a wide range of features for analyzing piezoelectric and electrostatic sensors, making it well suited for simulation-driven design of gyroscopes, accelerometers, pressure sensors, and a variety of other types of MEMS devices.

For the modeling of capacitive devices, COMSOL Multiphysics® offers comprehensive built-in functionality for bidirectionally coupled electrostatics and mechanical analysis. This functionality includes features for prestressing the device with a bias voltage before applying a harmonic voltage. For analyzing piezoelectric devices, COMSOL Multiphysics® provides a complete set of features that can couple elastic, piezoelectric, and fluid media phenomena, all in one model. The functionality is based on first principles and can be used to model virtually any type of MEMS sensor.

Join us in this session to get an overview of COMSOL Multiphysics® and its capabilities for modeling gyroscopes, accelerometers, and MEMS devices with capacitive transduction, such as electrostatic pressure sensors. In addition, this presentation will provide a brief overview of modeling advanced multiphysics effects like piezoresistivity, pyroelectricity, electrostriction, and magnetostriction.

Keynote talk
Measuring Temperature Using Ultrasound with Acoustic Metamaterials

Lucrezia Maini, ETH Zurich

In this keynote talk, Lucrezia Maini will illustrate the capabilities of the COMSOL Multiphysics® software within the realm of acoustic simulations, particularly for the development of acoustic metamaterials and their interaction with ultrasound. This research showcases the potential application of acoustic metamaterials as passive implantable sensors in the human body. The metamaterial that Maini will present in the talk is composed of silicon and polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). She will explain how to use measured experimental data to implement frequency-dependent properties of materials in acoustic simulation. She will then present a detailed physics model describing the frequency-dependent properties of PDMS in the MHz regime. This frequency-dependent approach to material implementation can be applied to other biomedical applications involving PDMS and medical transducers operating within the same frequency range.


Chemical sensors are characterized by two main components: a receptor and a transducer. Receptors can be based on chemisorption and physisorption, as well as on bioreceptors such as enzymes and antibodies. Transducers can be based on electrochemical, optical, electronic, thermal, gravimetric, and acoustic methods.

Modeling and simulation is key to understanding and designing the processes taking place in the sensor's receptors and transducers. In the chemical and biochemical industries, the COMSOL Multiphysics® software is widely used for the modeling of these devices. Its multiphysics capabilities enable the simulation of chemical reactions, diffusion and advection, fluid flow, electric and magnetic fields, thermoelectrics, electrochemistry, piezoelectricity, fluid–structure interaction, optics, acoustics, and more.

Join us in this session to learn about modeling chemical and biochemical sensors in COMSOL Multiphysics®.

Keynote Talk
Quantum-Enhanced Sensing with Photonic Integrated Circuits

Phoebe Tengdin, Miraex SA

Miraex develops photonic integrated circuits for quantum computing applications and quantum-enhanced sensing. Their products push the boundaries of what is possible in photonics by exploiting nanoscale light confinement to enable nonclassical capabilities. In this talk, Phoebe Tengdin will show how Miraex is developing quantum sensing using nanopatterned photonic circuits in thin-film lithium niobate. Particularly, she will highlight how they are using the COMSOL Multiphysics® software to enable their design of highly efficient photonic components.

Lunch Break
Introduction to COMSOL Multiphysics®

Learn the fundamental workflow of COMSOL Multiphysics®. This introductory demonstration will show you all of the key modeling steps, including drawing the geometry, setting up the materials and physics models, meshing, solving, and evaluating and visualizing the results.


Electromagnetic fields of coils and permanent magnets are used in position sensing and nondestructive testing. The COMSOL Multiphysics® software includes a wide range of features for analyzing these magnetic fields, as well as many common electromagnetic sensing principles.

Join us in this session to learn about the functionality in COMSOL Multiphysics® for modeling position sensors such as inductive proximity sensors and Hall effect sensors. In addition, this session will provide examples of how to work with relative position changes between sensors and targets, including parametric sweeps, moving meshes, and extrusion coupling.

Keynote Talk
Modeling the Performance of Inductive Position Sensors Using COMSOL Multiphysics®

Lorenzo Lugani, Melexis Technologies SA

Inductive position sensors are an emerging technology in the realm of e-mobility and robotics due to their high accuracy and insensitivity to parasitic magnetic fields. Achieving effective sensor development cycles requires the capability to predict the accuracy of the sensor performance without going through lengthy trial and error cycles. This talk will focus on predicting sensor inaccuracies due to PCB design-related non-idealities in inductive position sensors through simulations using the COMSOL Multiphysics® software. The COMSOL Multiphysics® models developed rely on the ECAD Import Module add-on product to import the exact PCB layout, making possible simulations that closely emulate actual behavior while incorporating necessary physical approximations. The AC/DC Module add-on product is applied to operate the coils, simulate the eddy currents circulating in the target, and to model the interaction between the integrated circuit and the coils. By varying the coils geometry, we identify optimal configurations to enhance sensor accuracy.


When using direct sensing, the quantity of interest (QoI) is directly accessible by measurements. With indirect sensing, however, the QoI can only be inferred from a set of measurements of another quantity.

Situations involving indirect sensing, which can include sensor calibration parameters, give rise to several interesting questions, such as: How can the QoI be estimated? How accurate is such an estimate in the presence of noise on the primary measurements and manufacturing tolerances in the system? The COMSOL Multiphysics® software offers specialized capabilities for answering these questions with the Optimization Module und Uncertainty Quantification Module, both available as add-on products.

Join us in this session to learn how to measure material properties indirectly and quantify their uncertainty using a tensile test as an example.


Sensor design often involves running iterations of a simulation for a large number of sensor and target positions, operating conditions, or other design parameters to ensure reliability, linearity, and constant sensitivity. In such situations, it is essential that calculations can be executed easily and with a minimum of computational overhead.

The COMSOL Multiphysics® software offers a number of built-in features that facilitate multiparametric studies. Parametric sweeps can range over geometric dimensions, material properties, boundary loads, and more. In addition, with certain COMSOL licenses, computations can be distributed to different cores and machines in parallel.

Join us in this session to get an overview of the powerful and time-saving study steps available in COMSOL Multiphysics® and learn how you get the most out of your license when using batch sweeps on shared memory computers as well as clusters.

Closing Remarks

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COMSOL Day Details


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June 25, 2024 | 10:00 CEST (UTC+02:00)
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Invited Speakers

Lucrezia Maini ETH Zurich

Lucrezia Maini is a PhD candidate at ETH Zurich in the Micro- and Nanosystems Group. Her project focuses on developing a passive implantable acoustic sensor for monitoring biomedical parameters in the body, such as body temperature. During her master's degree studies, she graduated from an international engineering program jointly hosted by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), Grenoble Institute of Technology (INPG), and the Polytechnic University of Turin (PoliTo). Throughout her career, she has joined different research institutions in Europe and the U.S., working in the domain of personalized medicine and healthcare, including the Institut Curie in Paris and IBM - Almaden in Silicon Valley.

Phoebe Tengdin Miraex SA

Phoebe Tengdin graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder, USA, in 2019 with a PhD in optical engineering. Following this, she worked as a postgraduate research assistant at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL). Phoebe’s research interests involve photonics, quantum optics and materials, and manipulation of quantum effects for practical applications such as sensors. She is now the lead optical engineer at Miraex, a Swiss startup focused on developing hardware for quantum conversion and sensing for quantum computing and RF-over-fiber applications.

Lorenzo Lugani Melexis Technologies SA

Lorenzo Lugani earned an MSc in materials science from the University of Pisa and Scuola Normale Superiore, Italy, in 2010. He earned his PhD in physics from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) in 2015. He is currently the product line director for position sensors at Melexis Technologies SA.