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

BPN983: Materials and Devices for Bright UV LEDs

Shu Wang

Wide band gap semiconductors are crucial for applications in power electronics, displays, solid-state lightning and many other fields. Due to their intrinsic structure and electronic properties, many wide band gap semiconductors can not be intentionally doped as desired, which limits their role in electronic and optoelectronic devices. In this project, we propose tuning the optoelectronic properties of wide band gap semiconductors electrically to enhance its luminescence efficiency.

Project currently funded by: Member Fees

BPN979: Developing Sweat Rate Sensors Using New Sensing Modalities

Ashwin Aggarwal
Manik Dautta
Luis Fernando
Ayala Cardona

The skin surface naturally secretes sweat for thermoregulation during sedentary and physical activities at varying rates, which can sometimes indicate underlying health conditions such as nerve damages or metabolic disorders. As measuring low secretion rates poses a challenge for traditional microfluidic devices, we present new ways to collect such sweat rates precisely.

Project currently funded by: Federal

BPN974: Lidar-Camera Fusion for Autonomous Driving

Philip L. Jacobson

Within the past few decades, the goal of fully-autonomous vehicles has moved from a thought experiment to a potential reality thanks to advances in machine intelligence. One of the key challenges to still be overcome is the building of robotic perception systems which can achieve performance on-par with or surpassing that of humans. Currently, most autonomous driving researchers rely on several different modalities for collecting visual information, namely lidar, radar, and cameras. Although relying on lidar for perception has the drawback of high cost, maturing lidar technology has opened...

BPN973: Functionalized-Carbon Reinforced Concrete Towards Low-Carbon Intensity Hydrogen Fuel and Smart Concrete

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: Integrated Photonics for Scalable Trapped Ion Quantum Computing

Daniel Klawson
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...

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

Lydia Lee

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 seeks to develop a radiation-hardened sensor frontend in order 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...

BPN941: Ultrasound-Induced Haptic Interface

Fan Xia
Wei Yue

The next big thing, AR/VR, requires an immersive Human Machine Interface (HMI) in addition to visual and sound stimuli. Although skin is the biggest organ in the human body, very few efforts compared to visual and auditory senses have been done to develop a “sense of touch”. The mechanical stimulus to generate the touch sense by the embedded mechanoreceptors in the skin at different depths has been created in many ways as vibratory actuators, microneedles, etc. In this project, we are investigating to create haptic interface via radiation force generated by piezoelectric...

BPN743: Highly Responsive pMUTs

Yande Peng
Peggy Tsao
Hanxiao Liu

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...

BPN876: Metal-Organic Frameworks for Chemical Sensing with High Selectivity

Alireza Pourghaderi
Isaac Zakaria

A classic challenge in gas sensing is the tunability of the sensing material for the selective absorption of target gases without interference from unwanted species. Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), made up of metal-cluster nodes connected by organic linkers, can achieve selective adsorption owing to their high chemical and structural tunability. Their selectivity and flexibility make MOFs attractive for gas sensing, as realized in novel low-power, low-footprint, on-chip devices such as the chemical-sensitive field-effect transistor, previously demonstrated by our group. In this...

BPN913: Mixed-Dye ZIF-8-Based Colorimetric Carbon Dioxide Sensing for Robust Indoor Air Quality Monitoring

Adrian K. Davey

Indoor levels of carbon dioxide (700 parts per million and up), when coupled with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) under most temperature and humidity environments, can induce fatigue, nausea, nasal irritation, and related human health symptoms. Toward the realization of rapid, inexpensive, passive, and visually-obvious indoor gas sensors, we present dye-functionalized metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), which employ distinct color changes to measure indoor carbon dioxide concentrations. Our latest generation of the sensor, based on the coupling of multiple dyes blended with MOF...