Wireless, RF & Smart Dust

Research that includes:

  • Tuneable RF components: capacitors, inductors, transformers
  • RF microrelays
  • High frequency MEMS resonators: devices, structures, and processes

BPN347: Smart Flea

Subramaniam Venkatraman

Behavior monitoring of animals is of interest to pharmaceutical firms which perform animal testing during the development of drugs. Behavior monitoring using a wireless accelerometer strapped to the animal is explored in this project. Since rats are the animal used in this study, it is essential that the wireless accelerometer meet some stringent weight and size requirements. A prototype wireless accelerometer has been developed which comprises of a 3-axes accelerometer, wireless transceiver, microcontroller, voltage regulator, switch, antenna and battery. It weighs 10.2 grams and is...

KSJP31: 3nJ/bit 2.4GHz CMOS RF Transceiver

Benjamin Cook

The goal of this project is to make dust-sized, wearable, autonomous wireless sensor nodes practically realizable by substantially reducing the power demands of the system's most power hungry section; the RF circuits. To that end, a novel RF transceiver capable of delivering adequate performance for sensor networks while consuming remarkably little power has been developed. Substantial power reduction in the RF circuits will shrink the size of battery required to sustain an autonomous sensor node. The goals for power consumption are dependent on the particular requirements placed on...

RTH45: Synchronization and interaction of MEMS oscillators

Peter Chen
Donovan Lee

With MEMS oscillators realized frequently in research, and nanoscale resonators around the corner, it is now not only feasible but interesting to have multiple oscillators integrated on one chip. However, the possible mechanical and electrical interactions between closely-placed devices have not been investigated. Recent surges in mathematical research have shown that it is not only possible to achieve synchronization between coupled oscillators; it is also possible to provide a computational solution with a larger array of coupled oscillators. In the MEMS world, this translates into...

NT19: MEMS Microswitch for High-Voltage Applications

Fabian Strong

A microswitch utilizing thermoelectric MEMS actuators is being designed, fabricated, and characterized. The switch is intended to switch >1000 VDC with over 100 gigaohms off-state resistance. The main challenge in designing these switches is determining a contact electrode configuration with the ability to stand off high voltages, while still being able to bridge the contact gap using MEMS actuators. Extensive high voltage breakdown testing has confirmed that the breakdown response for planar MEMS polysilicon devices is similar to the publushed response of larger metal electrodes...

BPN373: AlN Piezo: Aluminum Nitride CMOS-Integrated Accelerometer (MiNaSIP)

Andrew Cardes

The purpose of this project is to investigate the use of Aluminum-Nitride (AlN) thin films in accelerometer design. Aluminum Nitride is attractive in this regard as the piezoelectric properties of AlN remove the need for electrostatic comb structures for position sensing and the deposition of AlN is viable material for post-CMOS MEMS fabrication. The long-term objective of this project is to realize self-temperature compensating resonators through choice of electrode, sacrificial, and substrate materials; and to quantify energy dissipation caused by thermo piezo elastic dissipation...

BPN416: AlN Piezo: Aluminum Nitride RF Filters

Jan Kuypers

The goal of this project is to use piezoelectric Aluminum nitride (AlN) MEMS resonators to develop RF bandpass filters which can achieve multiple frequency operation with CMOS compatibility and high quality factor. These highly-integrated bandpass filter arrays with low power dissipation and small form factor will enable next-generation wireless communication systems.

Project end date: 02/07/08

BPN368: AlN Piezo: Aluminum Nitride Wideband RF Filters

Yun-Ju (Matilda) Lai

The goal of this project is to use piezoelectric Aluminum Nitride (AlN) MEMS contour mode resonators to develop RF bandpass filters which can achieve multi-frequency per chip, CMOS compatibility and high quality factor Q. The highly-integrated bandpass filter arrays with low power dissipation and small form factor, will be promising technology to accomplish next-generation wireless communication systems.

Project end date: 07/30/08

BPN425: Aluminum Nitride-Based Actuators for Tunable Terahertz Electronics

Mona Jarrahi

Fast growing applications of terahertz frequency in different areas such as material spectroscopy, medical imaging, radar systems, and security makes highly efficient, compact terahertz electronics highly on demand. However, the electromagnetic spectrum range at the corresponding frequencies (between 0.1 and 10 THz) has not been completely explored, due to the limitations of traditional microwave technology at long wavelengths and optical/laser sources at shorter wavelengths.

Project end date: 07/30/08

BPN415: Localization of Footsteps through Ground Vibrations

Travis Massey

Target localization, the ability to determine the location of a target, is becoming increasingly attractive for purposes of security and automation. Vibrational localization is the method of sensing and calculating the target’s location using vibrations transmitted through the ground. This method of localization does not require a line of sight to the target, is not limited by dilution of precision, and can detect any moving object or person. Vibrational localization was formerly restricted by the noise performance and sensitivity limitations of accelerometers and other circuit...

BPN446: AlN Piezo: Monolithic Acoustic RF MEMS Modules

Jan H. Kuypers

The goal of this research is the development of RF modules for wireless applications equipped with acoustic MEMS based filters and oscillators. Using CMOS compatible post-processes the acoustic components are to be fabricated directly on circuitry. In order to justify the increased complexity of such a module besides the advantage of size and cost, this will require a performance comparable to existing modules. Therefore the greatest challenges concerning the acoustic MEMS filters are lowering the insertion loss and increasing the bandwidth. The most important issue for oscillators...