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

BPN563: LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) with MEMS

Erwin K. Lau

Two-dimensional imaging is limited in that it cannot provide depth perception. One can view objects in the distance, but cannot determine how far away these images are. Three-dimensional imaging, such as RADAR, can accomplish this, but radio wavelengths are too long to provide detailed resolution. LIght Detection And Ranging (LIDAR) uses optical wavelengths, providing easily four orders of magnitude better resolution, allowing the imaging of sub-millimeter detail or better. However, the conventional LIDAR method employs short optical pulses that need high-speed, 2-D photodetection,...

BPN590: QES: MEMS Polymer Infrared Sensor Array

Nuo Zhang

This project's goal is to design, fabricate and test a MEMS, polymer-based, un-cooled thermal infrared (IR) sensor array. The sensors will be based on polymer-ceramic bimorph (two-layer) beams. Absorption of the incident IR radiation by each bimorph cantilever beam raises its temperature, resulting in proportional deflection due to the mismatch in thermal expansion of the two bimorph materials.

Project end date: 08/16/11

BPN593: Design and Modeling of Liquid Bearing Electrostatic Micromotor

Zhaoyi Kang

This project aims to design and develop an actuation system based on liquid bearing micro-rotary stage (micro-motor). The liquid bearing is essentially a small volume of fluid confined between the rotor and stator through Teflon surface coatings, which is capable of supporting both static and shock loads with reduced mechanical vibrations. The rotor is actuated by the three-phase electrostatic torque between the rotor and stator electrodes. We will develop analytical and numerical model to analyze and optimize the stationary and transient rotary of the micro-motor. Another major task...

BPN604: Readout Circuits for AlN Resonant Sensors

Igor I. Izyumin

Resonant MEMS sensors are commonly used for sensing pressure, mass, force, strain, and acceleration. Resonant readout is particularly attractive for piezoelectric sensors, since it is the only method that allows measurement of static or slowly-varying quantities. Fundamentally, resonant readout relies on a fixed dependence between the quantity to be measured and the resonant frequency of a mechanical structure. However, the resonant frequency is generally also a strong function of several unwanted variables, including temperature, fabrication variability, and packaging stress. One...

BPN605: Thin Film MEMS Pressure Sensor for Detection of Pressure Fluctuations in a Rat Brain due to Blast Injury

David G. Bonner

Explosion or blast injuries account for the largest number of injuries sustained in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. For non-penetrating brain injuries, there is a lack of concrete scientific knowledge to explain how kinetic energy from a blast transfers into pressure transients in the brain. Animal model studies of the effects of traumatic brain injuries in rats are currently being conducted. A thin film MEMS pressure sensor has been modified for implantation into a rat brain, and is able to sense dynamic pressure waves a rat is exposed to in a blast. Additionally, the sensor is able...

BPN582: HEaTS: Structurally Multifunctional Actuation and Readout Techniques for MEMS (SMART MEMS)

Kamran Shavezipur
Jamie Young

The goal of this project is to develop multifunctional sensors for harsh environment where using one device different physical parameters can be measured. The main focus for the current phase is on a multifunctional temperature-pressure sensor that simultaneously measures both pressure and temperature using a smart structure and capacitive readout.

Project end date: 01/26/12

BPN481: HEaTS: Aluminum Nitride Technology for Inertial Sensors

Gabriele Vigevani

The goal of this work is to design and fabricate inertial sensors based on c-axis oriented AlN polycrystalline thin films. AlN is a post-CMOS compatible piezoelectric material widely used for acoustic resonators, such Bulk Acoustic Wave (BAW) and Lamb Wave Resonators (LWR). In this work we develop the design techniques necessary to obtain inertial sensors with AlN thin film technology. Being able to use AlN as structural material for both acoustic wave resonator and sensing elements is key to achieve the three level integration of RF-MEMS components, sensing elements and CMOS in the...

BPN537: Liquid Bearing Micromotors

Brian Yoxall
Mei-Lin Chan

This project aims to develop a free, untethered micro-rotary platform based on liquid bearing support. The liquid bearing is essentially a small volume of fluid confined between the rotor and stator by patterned Teflon surface coatings. These bearings have the distinct advantage of being minimally affected by wear and capable of supporting both static and shock loads with reduced mechanical vibrations. The rotor is actuated through three phase electrostatic driving by etching notches in the perimeter of the silicon rotor and depositing metal electrodes onto the glass stator substrate...

BPN641: InAs XOI Gas Sensor

Junghyo Nah

The objective of InAs XOI gas sensor project is twofold. First, the role of size effect on sensor performance will be systematically investigated. Our XOI device structure provides a unique platform to perform this study since we can precisely control material thicknesses and transfer them on a SiO2/Si substrate. Based on this study, we will determine physical role of size effect on sensor performance. This result will be also essential to determine an optimum NR thickness for gas sensors. Secondly, we will implement multiple gas detection sensor modules on a single chip by...

APP96: HEaTS Sensors for Extreme Harsh Environments

Debbie Senesky

The goal of the Harsh Environment and Telemetry Systems (HEaTS) program is to deliver a wireless sensor module with MEMS-based silicon carbide (SiC)sensors integrated with SiC interface circuits for extreme harsh environment applications.

Project end date: 08/13/12