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

JFB1: Scanning Probe Methods for the Characterization of Nanomechanical Resonators

Alvaro San Paulo
Xuchun Liu

Development of atomic force microscopy and laser interferometry methods for the electromechanical characterization of nanomechanical resonators.

Project end date: 02/03/05

BEB18: MEMS Strain Gauges on Steel: Electronic Interfaces for Resonant Sensors

Kenneth Wojciechowski

The objective of this research is to develop electronic interface circuits to measure strain in automobile machine elements with a silicon micromachined resonant sensor. The strain sensor is required to have a resolution of 0.1 microstrain over a range of +/- 1000 microstrain and a measurement bandwidth of 10kHz. The dimensions of the strained areas in the bearings are on the order of 100-200 microns and therefore gauge lengths of the strain sensor must be in this range. The smallest commercially available strain sensors have gauge lengths of around 1mm are too large and thus micro-...

LWL28: Bi-directional Electrothermal Electromagnetic Actuators and Relays

Lufeng Che

Micro relays powered by bi-directional electrothermal electromagnetic actuator has been designed, built and tested. Relays built using these actuators can have single pole double throw (SPDT) configuration. Bi-directional actuators can be used to make bi-stable relays, which only require power consumption during the switching operations. The relays built can switch both high current and high voltages. The off state resistance is over 100 Megaohm with a breakdown voltage exceeding 200V. The on state resistance is around 0.3 ohm can carry several amps before failure. The performance of...

BPN314: Biomimetic Infrared sensor based on the nanogap junction array

Jeonggi Seo

The research that will be conducted in this project is to study the phenomenon of IR detection in pyrophilous jewel beetles and then to implement a MEMS design in order to reach or exceed the thermal sensitivity of 20 mK, standardized detectivity (D*) of 10^8 and field-of-view of 180º for an uncooled photomechanic infrared sensor.

Project end date: 02/07/06

APP55: MEMS Strain Gauge on Steel: Selective Strain Isolation

I-yang Chen

This project aims to design strain isolation trenches into the sensor package such that strain may be selectively isolated in specific sections, and along specific directions thereby reducing the cross-axis sensitivity of the strain sensor. The particular sensor package is an encapsulated, resonating MEMS strain gauge specially designed to be direct-mounted on steel with a strain resolution of 0.1u-strain. To this end, a strain isolation structure was designed that rejects cross-axis strain while still maintaining axial strain fidelity. A test structure is being fabricated to apply...

BEB19: Low-Power High-Performance Analog-to-Digital Converters

Dimitrios Katsis

Develop enabling circuit techniques to increase the compatibility of high performance analog-to-digital converters with deep sub-micron technologies.

Project end date: 08/01/06

DAH4: Strain Sensors for Wind Turbines

Bill Allan

An optical interrogation system for fiber Bragg grating (FBG) strain sensors suitable for use in wind turbine blade (WTB) composite I-beam structures has been developed and tested. An off-the-shelf MEMS-based tunable Fabry-Perot etalon is controlled with a real-time embedded digital signal processor to manage calibration, scanning, signal processing and communications with a host system. A single superluminescent diode sources broadband light to illuminate a single or arrayed set of FBG sensors. Reflected light from the sensors are routed to a photodiode, and is correlated with...

NT25: VLSI MEMS Switch

Qingquan Liu

Two important advantages of MEMS switches are their ability to survive heat and radiation. In addition, there has been increasing demand for passing transistor replacement in specific reconfigurable computing and signal routing application; passing transistors used in VLSI exhibit on-state resistances of thousands of ohms or more, which causes signal delay and increased power consumption. In this project, the design, fabrication and characterization of MEMS contact switches customized for VLSI are presented, herein referred to as “VLSI MEMS switches”.

Project end...

BPN346: TFT Modeling for Single Transistor Sensors

Ya-Mei Chen

This project’s goal is to simulate a bottom-gated, amorphous silicon thin-film transistor’s (a-Si TFT) response to strain caused by a chitosan layer over it.

Project end date: 01/24/07

APP83: MEMS Strain Gauge on Steel - Miniaturization of Transduction Circuits

Anand Jog
David Myers

The Research and Development proposed herein will improve the operating characteristics of traditional machine elements and the applications to which they contribute through the development and application of MEMS microstructures in two major categories. First, we will develop low-cost MEMS strain-sensing modules and the means to rapidly bond them to steel and other structures in large quantities. In addition to wire-based solutions, we will also develop modules for wireless data telemetry and power coupling to enable total systems-level solutions for the MEMS sensor modules. This...