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

BEB6: Electrostatic Actuator Design for a Digital Output Gyroscope

Joseph Seeger

This research investigates the dynamics, design, and control of gap-closing, electrostatic actuators. Because of nonlinearity, gap-closing actuators can give rise to complicated behavior, such as instability, frequency tuning, and parametric resonance. We have demonstrated charge control circuits that stabilize gap-closing actuators and increase the range of motion from 33% of the gap to more than 90% of the gap. We have designed a gyroscope proof-mass with parallel-plate actuators for low voltage oscillation in air with frequency tuning. We have identified parasitic effects, such as...

LWL22: Nanostructure-Based Nanoactuator

Maggie Chau

This project aims to develop nanoactautors based on the actuation of nanostructures such as nanowires and/or nanotubes. With the emerging technology of producing silicon nanowires and carbon nanotubes (CNTs), designing an actuation application would be the next advancement of nanotechnology. This nano actuator will be fabricated by the in-house produced silicon nanowires/carbon nanotubes. Additional processing steps and actuation means will be required to manifest the nanostructures for actuation demonstrations. We intend to investigate related design, process and material issues to...

BEB13: Background Calibration for Low-Power High-Performance A/D Conversion

Boris Murmann

Our project aims to develop and investigate on digital post processing methods and circuit techniques that allow efficient, low power implementation of high performance Analog-to-Digital Converters (ADC) in fine line technologies. The research focuses on a continuous background self-calibration technique applied to a high-speed pipelined ADC topology.

Project end date: 01/25/04

APP53: MEMS Strain Gauge on Steel: Resonant Sensor Design and Fabrication

Julian Lippmann

To fabricate a strain sensor capable of measuring micro-strain (10e-6) with a gauge length no greater then 1 mm. The sensor will be capable of in-situ mounting on pre-existing, minimally treated steel substrates. In addition, the sensor will also have a dynamic range of at least 0-1000 Hz, and maintain sensitivity and linearity over a range of temperatures and environmental conditions. In particular, this project is examining the use of a resonant element (tuning fork) to transduce strain into a electrical signal via capacitive sensing (both comb finger and parallel plate.)...

BEB20: Phase Noise Considerations of a MEMS Oscillator

Manu Seth

Oscillators based on MEMS resonators have been developed but their performance has not been thoroughly investigated. Phase noise has been measured in numerous oscillator designs, but it has not been determined whether these oscillators can meet the specifications of practical applications. This project will attempt to determine some of the limits of MEMS based oscillators in terms of phase noise. I will study the feasibility of using MEMS oscillators as the frequency reference in phase-locked loops. I will then design oscillator circuits meant to minimize noise and meet standard PLL...

BEB7: Electronic Interface for Micromachined Gyroscope Sensors

Vladimir Petkov

The goal of this project is to develop a high-resolution closed-loop sense interface for micromachined gyroscope sensors.

Project end date: 08/18/04

LWL21: Microfabricated Torsional Actuator by Self-Aligned Plastic Deformation

Jongbaeg Kim

The objective of this project is to develop vertically driven comb actuators with self-aligned comb sets using a novel yet simple fabrication process and apply it to optical MEMS devices.

Project end date: 08/18/04

APP91: Ultra High Shock Resistant Sensors

Ki Bang Lee

This research aims to develop ultra high shock resistant sensors that can be launched on a special high-speed projectile. A new set of MEMS RF and sensor components will be designed, fabricated, integrated, and tested in an environment characterized by extreme acceleration (150,000 to 300,000g). The special high-speed projectile will allow flat-trajectory, near-instantaneous placement of the MEMS RF and sensor components at distances in excess of 1000 m onto surfaces such as solid concrete.

Project end date: 08/26/04

BEB21: Background calibration techniques for digitally assisted ADC

Anshi Liang

Develop new background calibration techniques for low power digitally assisted Analog-to-Digital Converters (ADCs). The goal is achieve significant savings in convergence time. A proof-of-concept FPGA realization calibration module will be built for a 12-bit, 75-MS/s demonstration prototype previously developed by Boris Murmann.

Project end date: 01/20/05

KSJP29/JD: Floating Electro Mechanical Systems (FLEMS)

Jason Vaughn Clark

X Long-Range Goals The objectives of this project are to understand, characterize, and find useful applications for floating electromechanical systems. Various designs will be studied with a specialized finite element method with charge integral constraints.

Project end date: 02/03/05