To help resolve the control and power challenges present in developing microrobots, the research focus of this project is the design and development of a zero insertion force (ZIF) MEMS socket. The ultimate goal is to achieve an electrical connection between a 65nm single-chip mote, a solar cell chip, and a multi-legged silicon-on-insulator (SOI) microrobot. As proof-of-concept, the most recent socket prototype has demonstrated a successful connection to a MEMS robotic leg chiplet, which is orthogonal to the socket. Both chiplets were fabricated using a two-mask SOI process. The socket uses probes to precisely and reliably connect to pads on the leg chiplet. Once connected, the MEMS motors that actuate the leg can be run while inserted in the socket, standing upright. Future work will allow MEMS structures to easily probe the pads of CMOS chips, strongly connecting the two technologies both electrically and mechanically (the connection is designed to withstand 1000s of gs of vibration). The ZIF socket will provide a smooth and simple approach to the integration of CMOS chips with MEMS structures, and MEMS-MEMS assembly in order to easily build silicon microrobots.
Project ended: 01/11/2021