Wireless, RF & Smart Dust

Research that includes:

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

BPN436: Limits to Micromechanical Resonator Performance

Ilya Gurin

This overall project aims to explore the ultimate performance (e.g., phase noise in oscillators, insertion loss in filters) attainable by micromechanical circuits as dictated by physical limitations.

Project end date: 08/07/09

KSJP28: Location Estimation Using RF Time of Flight

Steven Lanzisera

An enabling technology for large scale sensor networks is the ability to determine a sensor node’s location after deployment. Some applications, such as inventory management, use sensors that move regularly, and this spatial information is crucial to the network's operation. A device to wirelessly measure the distance between two network nodes using an RF transceiver will be developed. The distance measurement is performed by calculating a cross correlation between a received and an expected signal. Methods for reducing the effects of noise, clock offset and multipath propagation...

LWL25: Plastic 3-D W-band Antenna Array

Mike Fuh

The goal of this project is to make low-cost, low power, and reconfigurable electromagnetic-wave beam-formers for potential W-band applications such as car collision avoidance radar, wireless local network (LAN), and radio links. The beam-forming is realized by phased antenna array. This research project responds to the need for complete system-level integration of RF or millimeter-wave (MMW) systems. We will develop technologies for 3-D structures by industrial plastic molding and electroplating processes with integrated active/passive components and reconfigurable beam-formers....

BPN405: Manufacturing Repeatability of the Frequency and Q of Capacitive Micromechanical Disk Resonators

Yang Lin

The long-term goal of this project is to devise methods for improving the untrimmed repeatability of micromechanical resonators so as to widen the breadth of applications addressable by such devices.

Project end date: 08/11/09

BPN506: Wireless Physician Tracking

Samuel Zats
Steven Lanzisera

Healthcare associated infections result in over 90,000 deaths at a cost of $4.5 – 5.7 billion annually. The Physician Tracking Project seeks to create a wireless sensor network which tracks the activity of physicians within a clinic. The system will log and notify physicians if he or she has approached a patient without the reapplication or cleansing of the hands. The project is in support and collaboration with the UC Davis Medical Center.

Project end date: 08/12/09

BPN367: AlN Piezo:Aluminum Nitride Piezo Thermoelastic Damping (MiNaSIP)

Gabriele Vigevani

The Q-factor of a MEMS resonator is the result of a number of mechanisms: many of the damping sources are related with the evironment where the device is working such as air damping or viscous damping but many others are an intrinsic property of the vibrating structure. Among those the most common source of energy loss are the anchor losses, the excitation of spurious mode and the Thermo Elastic Damping (TED). The long-term objective of this project is to characterize the energy dissipation due to thermoelasticity in piezoelectric materials. In particular due to the increasing...

BPN464: Wafer-scale Heterogeneous Assembly of Highly Ordered Semiconductor Nanowire Arrays by Contact Printing

Toshitake Takahashi
Kuniharu Takei
Zhiyong Fan
Johnny C. Ho
Alexandra L. Ford

We have achieved wafer-scale assembly of highly ordered arrays of NWs through a simple contact printing method which yielded high uniformity and reproducibility. In the assembled NW arrays, NW density was readily modulated through the surface chemical treatment of the receiver substrate. We have demonstrated that our printing approach is generic and a wide range of semiconductor NWs have been successfully assembled and integrated at large-scale. More importantly, we have developed nanowire roll printing to demonstrate the potential of a roll-to-roll nanowire printing process for...

BPN431: Levitated Micromechanical Resonators

Ilya Gurin

This project aims to develop levitated ultra-high-Q micromechanical resonators based upon the principle of diamagnetism and/or electrostatics. These magnetic and electrostatic actuation schemes obviate the need for supports, thereby eliminating design-imposed anchor-to-substrate energy loss mechanisms and perhaps revealing the intrinsic Q of resonator materials. In addition, on-chip signal-conditioning circuitry will be developed and integrated together with resonators, providing precise control over the lateral position of the resonators.

Project end date: 01/28/...

BPN546: Fully-Integrated Cell Phone Reference Oscillator

Thura Lin Naing

This project aims to achieve a fully integrated MEMS reference oscillator for cell phones, particularly the GSM standard. Integrating reference oscillators on chips reduces production cost significantly while, at the same time, MEMS resonators are able to maintain the same performance as in the current off-chip quartz-based oscillator. Low-temperature metal process for MEMS structures will be developed in order to integrate MEMS with MOS devices. In addition, phase noise performance of -117dBc/Hz at 1-kHz offset from a 60-MHz carrier and -137dBc/Hz at far-from-carrier offsets will be...

BPN561: Sensors and Capability Modeling for Palm-Sized Flying Robots

Anita Flynn

Recent breakthroughs in understanding insect flight have led to increased interest in small robotic flying aircraft which can hover and navigate through cluttered environments. MEMS inertial sensors have been an enabler in this regard. What types of additional sensors are required for autonomous flight and of what sorts of behaviors could palm-sized fliers be capable? We are performing a Multidisciplinary Design Optimization, combining constraints of propulsive technologies, powertrain efficiencies, novel sensors and communication drop-off payload to understand this space. The...