Physical Sensors & Devices

Research that includes:

  • Silicon MEMS actuators: comb, electro-thermal, and plastic deformation
  • Precision electronic sensing and measurements of capacitive, frequency, and coulombic MEMS variables
  • Structures and architectures for gyroscopes, accelerometers, micro strain gauges for direct application to rigid structures e.g., steel, and levitated MEMS

Jun-Chau Chien

Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences
Berkeley Sensor & Actuator Center (BSAC)

Jun-Chau Chien is an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, and a Co-Director of the Berkeley Sensor & Actuator Center (BSAC). His research focuses on analog/mixed-signal integrated circuits, bioelectronics, and RF/mmWave high-speed ICs. He is also interested in biosensor designs, molecular engineering, and techniques to couple semiconductor technologies with advanced biotechnologies for new platform development.

Prior to joining BSAC, Professor Chien was an Assistant Professor at National...

BPN973: Low-Carbon Piezoresistive Cement Paste for Structural Health Monitoring

Stuart McElhany

Global usage of concrete has tripled in the last 40 years,[1] and continues to grow rapidly, placing immense pressure on the environment while requiring its use for safe and effective infrastructure. Concrete accounts for roughly 10% of worldwide CO2 emissions annually. A promising method for directly reducing the CO2 emissions associated with concrete is through replacement of cement, the primary binding material in concrete, with a percentage of carbon, creating so called carbon-incorporated cement composites (CCC). Carbon may be sourced from the waste product of methane...

BPN961: Photonic Integrated Circuits for Scalable Trapped Ion Quantum Computing

Daniel Klawson
Arkadev Roy
Rohan Kumar

Quantum computing is a new paradigm of computing that promises exponential performance increases for certain tasks as compared to classical computers. Trapped ions have been identified as a favorable medium – trapped ion quantum computers perform operations on singular atoms with precisely aimed laser pulses calibrated to state transitions within the ions’ energy levels. Bulk free space optics are currently used for qubit manipulation, but the large amount of optical equipment required hinders scalability. Recent pushes to build higher bit systems have identified photonic integrated...

BPN920: Robust, Multimodal Sweat Sensors with High-Throughput Fabrication

Noelle Davis
Ashwin Aggarwal
Sorour Darvishi

In the field of sweat monitoring, many sensors have been piloted with one or two subjects over limited periods of time, but there is a need for prolonged, large-scale studies to establish reliable physiological correlations that account for diverse subjects, activities, and environments. Chemical sensors provide the concentration of analytes of interest, including sodium, potassium, and glucose, while sweat rate sensors provide standalone information on nerve function and hydration. Monitoring both of these in parallel will enable the decoding of concentrations of analytes that are...

BPN999: Stretchable Sweat Sensor Fabricated by Roll-to-Roll Process (New Project)

Seung-Rok Kim
Noelle Davis
Nicole Qing

We have been developing sweat sensors to analyze physiological and metabolic health information, such as sweat rate, glucose levels, pH, and various electrolytes, from any surface on the body surface where sweat glands are present. However, the stiff sweat sensors developed so far struggle to detect subtle signal changes, especially on soft skin. This is due to a mechanical mismatch between the rigid sweat sensor and the pliable skin, which can lead to motion artifacts and delamination of the patch from skin. Specifically, the stiff sensor cannot easily stretch along with the...

BPN972: Temperature-Insensitive Resonant Strain Sensor

Xintian Liu
Kevin H. Zheng

Explore the ultimate capability of a vibrating ring-based electrical stiffness-based resonant strain sensor, rigorously confirming a superior insensitivity to temperature that should permit it to operate under wide temperature excursions, such as experienced in harsh automotive environments.

Project currently funded by: Industry Sponsored

BPN946: Sensor for Natural Sweat Analysis

Sorour Darvishi

Wearable sweat sensors have emerged as attractive platforms for non-invasive health monitoring. While most sweat sensors have relied on exercise or chemical stimulation to generate sweat, natural thermoregulatory sweat is an attractive alternative as it can be accessed during routine and even sedentary activity without impeding user lifestyles, while also potentially preserving correlations between sweat and blood biomarkers. For rapid accumulation of natural sweat that enables quick, single-point measurement of sweat analytes, we develop a simple, skin-attachable sensing platform to...

BPN915: Control of Microrobots with Reinforcement Learning

Yichen Liu
Zhongyu Li
Kesava Viswanadha
Rushil Desai

Generating low-level robot controllers often requires manual parameters tuning and significant system knowledge, which can result in long design times for highly specialized controllers. Moreover, experiments for microrobot control in real life can be costly for reliability test, tune, and validate the controller design. To address the problem of rapidly generating low- level general controllers without domain knowledge, we propose using model-based reinforcement learning (MBRL) trained in a simulated environment. We have been making progress on MBRL along two thrusts: modeling long-...

BPN956: Time-of-Flight Hardware for the Solar Probe ANalyzer for Ions (SPAN-Ion)

Omar Alkendi

Monitoring and building our understanding of space weather is necessary to protect current and future astronauts and hardware, as well as further our understanding of its effects on atmospheric development and loss. This project has developed two radiation-hardened sensor frontends to measure the ion composition of the solar wind aboard the Solar Probe ANalyzer for Ions (SPAN-Ion). SPAN-Ion uses time-of-flight mass spectrometry to distinguish ions by their mass: charge ratios; the target architecture for future missions decreases mass and increases speed in exchange for several orders of...

BPN735: Walking Silicon Microrobots

Alexander Alvara
Yichen Liu
Daniel Lovell
Dang Le

Our goal is to build a family of autonomous silicon robotic insects.

These robots use electrostatic actuators driving planar silicon linkages, all fabricated in the device layer of a silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafer. By using electrostatic actuation, these legs have the advantage of being low power compared to other microrobot leg designs. This is key to granting the robot autonomy through low-power energy harvesting. The ultimate goal is to join these silicon legs with the Single Chip microMote (SCuM, BPN803) for computation and communication and a Zappy2 chip with solar cell...