Finanziato da: ESA
Periodo: Marzo 2021 – Marzo 2022


The objective of the present activity is to design, manufacture and test a breadboard model and an engineering model of a compact Quartz Crystal Microbalance (QCM) measuring system. The Contamination Assessment Microbalance (CAM) is a low-mass (< 1 kg) device which will monitor in-orbit contamination of sensitive surfaces and payloads on ESA’s future satellites. QCM were used in the past to monitor contamination in different ESA or NASA space missions. Typically they used sensors manufactured and sold by US companies, only few were customized European sensors. In this Tender, ESA gives several requirements in terms of performance, part procurement, design, environmental. While the environmental, the part procurement and the design requirements can be considered standard, instead there are some performance requirements that are extremely challenging. Maybe the most important example is the temperature measurement accuracy and the related active thermal control. At present, even US companies producing QCM for Space applications are not offering products with similar performances. Here, the Tenderer propose a novel approach to monitor the quartz crystal temperature and to heat the crystal itself by means of a built-in resistive deposited thin film. This methodology would have an important impact on the accuracy not only on the measured temperature but also on the active thermal control


The most important activities of the project will be:

A redesign of the instrument will mainly involve the mechanical parts, the piezoelectric sensors, the proximity electronics and new test procedures.

In particular, the IIA CNR will take care of the design part is aimed at industrialization of piezoelectric sensors (quartz crystals) that proximity electronics. In fact, the goal of this financing phase, which took place downstream of the previous success of the CAMLAB project, aims to produce an industrial prototype that satisfies ESA in its contamination and out-gassing laboratory applications in ESTEC. Project output will be the procedure and technical documentations for the semi-series production of the CAMLAB device.



Development of commercial prototype for ESA


  • Politecnico di Milano

Emiliano Zampetti

Responsabile Scientifico


Gruppo di lavoro

Paolo Papa

Alessandro Capocecera

Antonella Macagnano