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

BPN661: HEaTS: SiC Thin-Film Flame Ionization Sensor

David A. Rolfe

This project seeks to construct a thermally-isolated, SiC thin-film, ionization sensor to measure the propagation speed of flames in combustion chambers. Silicon carbide has been chosen as the sensor material because it is a ceramic semiconductor with low surface energy and excellent mechanical and electrical properties at high temperatures. A prototype MEMS planar sensor array has been designed and fabricated for parametric testing of sensor material and geometry. It is currently undergoing testing using a controlled flame. Future work will incorporate parametric optimization and...

BPN663: HEaTS: SiC Diodes and Rectifiers for Harsh Environment Sensing Applications

Shiqian Shao

The goal of this project is to develop harsh environment rectification and sensing circuits. The devices and circuits are designed in silicon carbide (SiC) wafer due to its extraordinary performance in harsh environment such as high temperature, corrosive chemical. SiC diodes and rectifier bridges is designed, fabricated and tested in my research project to develop harsh environment sensing system.

Project end date: 01/28/14

BPN644: HEaTS: SiC Bipolar Junction Transistors for Harsh Environment Sensing Applications

Nuo Zhang

The goal of this project is to develop silicon carbide (SiC) bipolar junction transistors (BJTs) for harsh environment sensing applications. The wide bandgap energy (3.2eV) and low intrinsic carrier concentration allow SiC semiconductor device to function at a much higher temperature than Si. Moreover, high breakdown field (3-5MV/cm), high-saturated electron velocity (2E7cm/s) coupled with high thermal conductivity (3-5W/cmK) permit extreme working conditions for SiC devices. The SiC BJT has the potential for low specific on-resistance, low turn-on voltage and high temperature...

BPN616: HEaTS: SiC Harsh Environment Pressure Sensors

Kirti R. Mansukhani

The goal of this project is to develop MEMs pressure sensors to survive harsh environments. Harsh environments (high temperature, high pressure, high shock and/or corrosive conditions) are encountered in various applications such as automobile engines, turbines, space, downhole oil and gas drilling, and geothermal logging.

Project end date: 01/28/14

BPN638: HEaTS: SiC Devices and ICs for Harsh Environment Sensing

Ayden Maralani

The main objective of this research is to design and develop low power Silicon Carbide (SiC) based transistors and Integrated Circuits (ICs) that can withstand the elevated temperature, up to 600°C. The fabricated ICs will be integrated with the SiC-based sensors to develop high temperature sensing systems for various harsh environment applications.

Project end date: 01/28/14

BPN614: HEaTS: 4H-SiC FET Technology for Harsh Environment Sensing Applications

Wei-Cheng Lien

The goal of this research is developing a wireless, multichip sensing module for addressing the inefficiencies in energy use. By doing so, power systems can be advanced by integration of electronics (communication, signal processing, microactuator control, etc.) to be operated at high temperature. Silicon carbide (SiC) has become the candidate for harsh environment sensing technology because its wide bandgap (3.2 eV), excellent chemical stability, high breakdown electric field strength (3-5 MV/cm), and high saturated electron drift velocity (2E7 cm/s). The goal of my research project...

BPN634: Low Voltage and Fast Response Actuators

Zhibin Yu

The conventional electrostatic actuators are operated at very high voltage relative slow response which prevents them from useful applications in providing mobility for making microrobots. There has been a lot of study on making electrostatic actuators based on polymers such as acrylic elastomers, HS3 silicone and silicon NuSil. All these materials need over one thousands volts to operate. We are going to make low operation voltage and fast response actuators using nanowire polymer composites. We are going to deposit polymer thin films on vertically aligned nanotube (nanowire) forest...

BPN653: Biologically-Inspired, Self-Activated Building Envelope Regulation System (SABERS)

Younggeun Park

The objective of this work is to establish self-active building envelope regulation systems (SABERS) by integrating optical and hygrothermal sensor and actuator networks on a thin membrane. The system is specifically designed for lightweight membrane applications such as deployable emergency housing in tropical climates with the aim to supplant the use of traditional air conditioning systems responsible for the most significant energy expenditure in built environments in these regions. The expected outcome of this research is the development of a membrane prototype that consists of a...

BPN448: Integrity Assessment of Underground Power Distribution Cables

Eric Talamantez

A serious worldwide infrastructure problem is the sudden, often dramatic failure of underground high- voltage AC power distribution cables. This research is aimed at finding economical ways of measuring the health of in-service cables operating at tens of kilovolts, to permit their selective replacement.

Project end date: 02/27/14

BPN698: Multifunctional Electronic Skin

Kevin Chen

Flexible sensor networks have promising applications in fields such as touch sensors for touch sensitive prosthetics and wearable medical diagnosis devices. In this project, we aim to fabricate a multifunctional “e-skin” capable of detecting multiple forms of stimuli including light and pressure, so as to be able to mimic the human skin and beyond. Polyimide is spun onto a silicon wafer upon which traditional CMOS technology is used to fabricate flexible thin film transistors based on solution deposited carbon nanotube networks. Various types of sensors are then integrated to create...