SupraSensor: contactless measuring and weighing

Superconductor-based technology for laboratory applications

Ultra-clean and germ-free processes are a key challenge facing the industrial production of tomorrow – particularly in the food processing, pharmaceutical and medical technology industries, but also in the electronics sector. In order to keep production as contamination-free as possible, the equipment and working area should be separated from each other. An exciting concept with superconductor technology now enables contactless and precise weighing and measuring: the SupraSensor.

Keeping production in the laboratory free of germs and contamination is not easy. Particularly problematic in this regard are the working materials used, for example, test tubes, Petri dishes or even measuring devices such as a scales. They are brought into the protected working area from the outside and can introduce germs. If they are placed on the work surface, crawl spaces form underneath that are difficult to keep clean.

Levitating scale

By using magnetic field-based levitation – for example with superconductor technology – such limitations can be circumvented in the future. Our SupraSensor concept illustrates just one of the possibilities. It demonstrates the function of contactless scales that could be used, for example, on safety workbenches for biological or chemical analysis. At the heart of the application is a cryostat with a superconductor, which is permanently fixed on a set of precision scales under the work area.

A weighing pan levitates above the surface with a permanent magnet on its underside, which is contactlessly coupled with the superconductor and thus also with the scales. This is made possible by the special property of superconductors, which can make magnets levitate at a defined gap when they are cooled to a certain temperature.

SupraSensor in a laboratory environment

Potential use of contactless scales: in safety cabinets for biological or chemical analysis

Easy-to-clean laboratory environment

Translated into a laboratory environment, the surface of the workstation thus remains free of bothersome fittings and can be cleaned effectively and easily. Only the weighing pan levitates above the table. If it is not needed, it can be removed and the entire working space is freely available.

Beyond simply measuring and weighing, the technology offers a wide range of other possibilities such as analytical density or viscosity determination, precise proportioning or monitoring reactive or biological processes. At the same time, the application with superconductors is extremely robust and stable, both physically and over time. The levitating effect intrinsic to the material does not require any control technology and remains present over a long period of time, even if the power supply is interrupted.