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

BPNX1007: Surface Tension-Driven Liquid Metal Actuator

Peisheng He
Zihan Wang

Surface tension plays an important role in miniaturized systems as the scaling law favors its relative significance over other forces such as gravity, magnetic, and structural stiffness. As such, surface tension effects have induced process issues in microfabrication such as stiction but also provided opportunities in using the surface tension to drive microdevices, such as those based on electrowetting-on-dielectric (EWOD), electrocapillary, and continuous electrowetting (CEW) mechanism, … etc. In this project, we exploit the giant outputs by the switching of surface tension...

BPNX1008: Dual-Path Noise Elimination (DuNE): A Noise-Cancellation Technique for Aptamer-Based Electrochemical Sensors

Wei Foo

We have previously demonstrated electrochemical circuits for measuring the concentration of various biomolecules and drugs using structure-switching aptamers. Structure-switching aptamers are single-stranded nucleic acids that can be sequenced to exhibit conformational changes when bound to specific biomolecules. By conjugating aptamers with a redox reporter, voltammetry or amperometry-based measurements can be applied and signals in the nano to pico-amp scale can be captured using transimpedance amplifiers (TIA). Because the signals of interest are very small, noise-cancellation...

Hyong Min Kim

Graduate Student Researcher
Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences
Professor Ali Javey (Advisor)
Ph.D. 2028 (Anticipated)

Hyong is a Ph.D. student in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Department at University of California, Berkeley. He received his Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering from the Univeristy of Pennsylvania in 2023. In his undergraduate research, Hyong studied quantum emission from strained 2D materials, ferroelectric field-emission transistors based on AlScN/2D material heterostructures, and scanning probe characterization of 1D-2D material interfaces. Hyong's current research at Berkeley is on fabricating next-generation Mid-Wave Infrared (MWIR) optoelectronic devices...

BPN999: Wearable Sweat Sensors with High-Throughput Fabrication

Noelle Davis
Yullim Lee
Nicole Qing
Seung-Rok Kim

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...

BPN997: Interface Piezoelectricity in Silicon

Haoxin Zhou
Kadircan Godeneli
Zihuai Zhang
Mutasem Odeh
Shahin Jahanbani

Piezoelectricity is the ability of certain materials to generate an electric polarization in response to applied mechanical stress or generate a mechanical deformation in response to applied voltage. It has broad applications where transduction between electrical and mechanical energy is required. It may also play a negative role and affect the performance of electronic devices. An example is the piezoelectric loss in superconducting qubits.

While bulk piezoelectricity usually only exists in materials without inversion symmetry, lattice termination at the material surface, or...

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

BPN961: Integrated Photonics for Scalable Trapped Ion Quantum Computing

Daniel Klawson
Arkadev Roy
Yiyang Zhi
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...

BPN951: Berkeley Low-cost Interplanetary Solar Sail (BLISS)

Alexander Alvara
Bhuvan M. Belur

Space exploration often costs multiple millions of dollars for each exploratory mission to get a single piece of equipment into orbit. These missions usually return information in the form of scans or images or samples in the form of extracted material. This work proposes the manufacture and deployment of thousands of imaging capable solar sails systems with 10 gram payloads. Power generation is enabled through solar panels and batteries. Navigation is enabled through one square meter solar sails maneuvered by inchworm motors. Communications are enabled by laser transmitters and SPAD...

BPN915: Control of Microrobots with Tiny Sequence Models

Yichen Liu
Kesava Viswanadha
Nelson Lojo
Derrick Han Sun
Aviral Mishra
Rushil Desai
Zhongyu Li

Generating comprehensive task schedulers and specialized low-level controllers for robots in complex environments often requires system and environment knowledge, which can result in long design times. Real-life experiments for the development, tuning, and validation of such controllers can be costly for a microrobot. To address these issues, we propose the distillation of computation-intensive expert policies (that use Model-Based Reinforcement Learning) into small sequence models trained auto-regressively on model predictive control (MPC) trajectories. Previously, we modeled the long-...

BPN743: Highly Responsive pMUTs

Peggy Tsao
Megan Teng
Hanxiao Liu
Yande Peng

Ultrasonics has been realized as a nondestructive measurement method for a variety of applications, such as medical imaging, healthcare monitoring, structural testing, range finding, and motion sensing. Furthermore, high intensity ultrasound can be used in therapeutic treatments, such as lithotripsy for kidney stone comminution, hyperthermia for cancer therapy, high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) for laparoscopic surgery and transcranial sonothrombolysis for brain stroke treatment. MEMS ultrasonic transducers are known to have several pronounced advantages over the conventional...