BPN303: MEMS Biopolymer: Polymer Coated Cantilevers for Infrared Heat Sensing


The goal of this research is to use biomimetics to develop an uncooled, photomechanic infrared sensor formed from a cantilever bimorph. One side of the bimorph uses chitin (or potentially other polymers) in order to achieve a high thermal mismatch and maximize deflection. The objective is to maximize deflection for a given amount of incidient infrared radiation. Our design is inspired by the jewel beetle Melanophila acuminata, which has an IR-sensitive pit organ for the remote detection of forest fires, an evolutionary advantage that allows it to lay eggs in an area free of predators. The material found in the pit organ, the polysaccharide chitin, stretches photomechanically in response to select wavelengths of IR radiation. We are developing a fabrication process to integrate chitin into the cantilever bimorphs, in order to transduce the photomechanical stretching due to the IR for use as an infrared imager.

Project end date: 01/28/08

Michael T. Mueller
Publication date: 
August 14, 2007
Publication type: 
BSAC Project Materials (Final/Archive)
PREPUBLICATION DATA - ©University of California 2007

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