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Microelectromechanical Systems, Journal of

Issue 1 • Date Feb. 2012

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Displaying Results 1 - 25 of 34
  • Table of contents

    Page(s): C1 - C4
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  • Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems publication information

    Page(s): C2
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  • 2011 Reviewers List

    Page(s): 1 - 3
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  • Thermoelectric Characterization and Power Generation Using a Silicon-on-Insulator Substrate

    Page(s): 4 - 6
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (396 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    We demonstrate techniques for measuring thermoelectric voltages and generating on-chip power using a silicon-on-insulator substrate. Our design uses lateral heat conduction in the silicon overlayer to establish temperature gradients, which dramatically reduces microfabrication complexity compared to competing designs based on a free-standing membrane. This letter characterizes the thermoelectric power of a metal-semiconductor structure involving a doped SbTe alloy that is relevant for phase-change memory. The thermoelectric power of the SbTe-TiW thermocouple is 24 μV/K, and the power generation output achieves up to 0.56 μW/cm2 with a temperature gradient of 18°K. View full abstract»

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  • A Compact Manually Actuated Micromanipulator

    Page(s): 7 - 9
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    This letter reports a compact, versatile, and user-friendly micromanipulator that uses an elastically deformable silicon microtweezer to grab microentities, and a micrometer head for rotational manual actuation. The micro-/macroconnection is achieved via a graphite interface that results in a compact and portable design and placement on most translation stages. The system which can operate in both air and liquid, and transport objects between the two media, has a wide range of applications. We demonstrate but a few of them, including in situ construction of microstructures in 3-D, isolation and placement of individual microparticles on designated spots on sensors, on-demand microcontact printing of microparticles, and manipulation of live stem cell spheres. View full abstract»

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  • RF MEMS Fractal Capacitors With High Self-Resonant Frequencies

    Page(s): 10 - 12
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (565 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    This letter demonstrates RF microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) fractal capacitors possessing the highest reported self-resonant frequencies (SRFs) in PolyMUMPS to date. Explicitly, measurement results show SRFs beyond 20 GHz. Furthermore, quality factors higher than 4 throughout a band of 1-15 GHz and reaching as high as 28 were achieved. Additional benefits that are readily attainable from implementing fractal capacitors in MEMS are discussed, including suppressing residual stress warping, eliminating the need for etching holes, and reducing parasitics. The latter benefits were acquired without any fabrication intervention. View full abstract»

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  • A 2 Degree-of-Freedom SOI-MEMS Translation Stage With Closed-Loop Positioning

    Page(s): 13 - 22
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    This paper presents the design, analysis, fabrication, and characterization of a closed-loop XY micropositioning stage. The stage design is based on a 2 degree-of-freedom parallel kinematic mechanism with linear characteristics. Integrated with sensing combs, and fabricated in SOI wafers, the design provides a promising pathway to closed-loop positioning microelectromechanical systems platform with applications in nanomanufacturing and metrology. The XY stage provides a motion range of 20 micrometers in each direction at the driving voltage of 100 V. The resonant frequency of the XY stage under ambient conditions is 600 Hz. The positioning loop is closed using a capacitance-to-voltage conversion IC and a feedback controller is used to control position with an uncertainty characterized by a standard distribution of 5.24 nm and a closed-loop bandwidth of about 30 Hz. View full abstract»

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  • A Near-Infrared Optomechanical Intracranial Pressure Microsensor

    Page(s): 23 - 33
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    We present a wireless and power-free, optomechanical, implantable microsensor that can potentially be used to accurately monitor intracranial pressure (ICP) over long periods of time. The developed microsensor vertically integrates a glass mini-lens with a two-wavelength quantum dot (QD) micropillar that is photolithographically patterned on an ICP-exposed silicon nitride membrane. The operation principle is based on a novel optomechanical transduction scheme that converts ICP changes into changes in the intensity ratio of the two-wavelength, near-infrared fluorescent light emitted from the QDs. The microsensor is microfabricated using silicon bulk micromachining, and it operates at an ICP clinically relevant pressure dynamic range (0-40 mmHg). The microsensor has a maximum error of less than 15% throughout its dynamic range, and it is extremely photostable. We believe that the proposed microsensor will open up a new direction not only in ICP monitoring but in other pressure-related biomedical applications. View full abstract»

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  • Electrically Addressed Dual Resonator Sensing Platform for Biochemical Detection

    Page(s): 34 - 43
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (923 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Chemically functionalized silicon microresonators provide the potential for sensitive, label-free biomolecular detection by coupling small induced perturbations in stiffness, mass, and dissipation due to surface bound analyte to their measured frequency response. However, several implementation challenges arise from the necessity of operation in compatible biological buffer solutions. These challenges include minimizing undesired effects of fluid-structure interaction and buffer interference with signal transduction. In this paper, we present a novel dual resonator sensing platform (DRP) to address these challenges, wherein electrical transduction and biochemical sensing are spatially separated onto two different mechanically coupled resonators. This enables electrical interrogation of the sensor without compromising the sensing environment, allowing for relative ease of fabrication and the possibility of integration with on-chip electronics. We demonstrate the functionality of the DRP as a mass sensing platform, with a mass responsivity of 34 Hz/ng in air. The viscous effects on dynamic response of the DRP were investigated by comparing the measurements with theoretical values, and a quality factor of 221 in water is demonstrated. Furthermore, characterization of the DRP was preformed with streptavidin-coated microbeads, and the measured response is in close agreement with the model. Finally, the use of DRP for measurement of dried cell mass and accurate cell counting is demonstrated with a detection limit of 1.46 ng. View full abstract»

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  • Hollow Out-of-Plane Polymer Microneedles Made by Solvent Casting for Transdermal Drug Delivery

    Page(s): 44 - 52
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    Although hollow microneedles have been proposed as an effective and convenient method for transdermal drug delivery, their expensive fabrication techniques to date have prevented their mass fabrication as a viable option. A novel method, based on solvent casting, is presented for inexpensive fabrication of hollow out-of-plane polymer microneedles. Microneedles are formed during a solvent evaporation process, which leaves a polymer layer around pillars in a prefabricated mold. The mold is fabricated using photolithography and can be used for consecutive solvent casting of microneedles. Arrays of microneedles with lengths up to 250 μm have been fabricated from clay-reinforced polyimide. Several mechanical tests were performed on solvent cast solid structures to find the optimum clay percentage in the polyimide that would lead to the highest compressive strength. The fabricated needles were tested for robustness, and it was observed that the needles were capable of withstanding on average compressive loads of up to 0.32 N. The suitability of the microneedles for skin penetration and drug delivery was demonstrated by injection of fluorescent beads into a skin sample. View full abstract»

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  • A Microfluidic Approach to Pulsatile Delivery of Drugs for Neurobiological Studies

    Page(s): 53 - 61
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    We present an innovative microfluidic approach to transcranial delivery of small quantities of drugs in brief time pulses for neurobiological studies. The approach is based on a two-stage process of consecutive drug dispensing and delivery, demonstrated by a device featuring a fully planar design in which the microfluidic components are integrated in a single layer. This 2-D configuration offers ease in device fabrication and is compatible to diverse actuation schemes. A compliance-based and normally closed check valve is used to couple the microchannels that are responsible for drug dispensing and delivery. Brief pneumatic pressure pulses are used to mobilize buffer and drug solutions, which are injected via a cannula into brain tissue. Thus, the device can potentially allow transcranial drug delivery and can also be potentially extended to enable transdermal drug delivery. We have characterized the device by measuring the dispensed and delivered volumes under varying pneumatic driving pressures and pulse durations, the standby diffusive leakage, and the repeatability in the delivery of multiple pulses of drug solutions. Results demonstrate that the device is capable of accurately dispensing and delivering drug solutions 5 to 70 nL in volume within time pulses as brief as 50 ms, with negligible diffusive drug leakage over a practically relevant time scale. Furthermore, testing of pulsatile drug delivery into intact mouse brain tissue has been performed to demonstrate the potential application of the device to neurobiology. View full abstract»

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  • Investigation of Denaturation of Hydrophobic Perfluoropolymer Surfaces and Their Applications for Micropatterns on Biochip

    Page(s): 62 - 67
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    The mechanism causing the denaturation of hydrophobicity of a micropatterned perfluoropolymer surface through the damage that occurs during the fabrication process is investigated. Using the results of the investigation, we successfully formed highly hydrophobic patterns without any loss of hydrophobicity even on low-thermal-tolerance substrates such as polycarbonates. We previously reported that the loss of hydrophobicity could be reduced by employing Cu as a dry etching mask and that hydrophobicity could be restored by postannealing the surface at 230°C. In this study, we investigate the detailed influence of process parameters on the binding condition and hydrophobicity of the perfluoropolymer surface. Even when the postannealing temperature was reduced to 145°C , by employing 50-nm-thick Cu as an etching mask, it was possible to form highly hydrophobic perfluoropolymer patterns having a contact angle of 110.3°. The hydrophobicity of the formed surface could be restored to its original value by postannealing at 145°C. This was possible because the depth of the damaged perfluoropolymer surface that contained unsaturated bonds was shallower when a Cu mask was used than when an Al mask was used. The developed technology can be employed in biochip applications such as cell patterning and droplet generation. View full abstract»

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  • Micromachined Microsieves With High Aspect Ratio Features

    Page(s): 68 - 75
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    Micromachined microsieves fabricated entirely by dry etch processes with pore diameters ranging from 3 to 5 μm are reported. Two microsieve architectures are explored: 2.1 and 5.3 μm thin dielectric layer membranes supported by high aspect ratio rib features (10:1), and 50 μm thick silicon membranes from silicon-on-insulator wafers with no supporting ribs and high aspect ratio pore features (16:1). The flow throughput of each design is evaluated experimentally and theoretically, and the expected relative robustness is assessed and compared to typical microsieve structures reported in the literature. The experimental and theoretical work suggests that both structures have the potential for higher robustness than the typical micromachined microsieve architectures, with reduced but still reasonable flow throughputs in the range of 105 to 106 L/m2-hr-bar, depending on the microsieve porosity. Both microsieve architectures are shown to block monodisperse polymer beads 3 μm in diameter. View full abstract»

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  • A Bistable Shape Memory Alloy Microvalve With Magnetostatic Latches

    Page(s): 76 - 84
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    This paper presents the layout, fabrication, and characterization of a first-of-its-kind bistable shape memory microvalve. The main functional components are two counteracting shape memory alloy microbridges for switching and magnetic layers to maintain two stable switching states in power-off condition. The high demands on alignment accuracy are met by a novel fabrication process, where all components are assembled to a self-aligning valve stack. This allows full electrical, mechanical, and fluidic performance tests as well as fine adjustment of layer thicknesses prior to final bonding. The overall dimensions of first demonstrators are 11 mm × 6 mm × 3 mm. Bistable operation is shown for differential pressures up to 300 kPa for gas (N2) at high flow rates of 2200 seem. View full abstract»

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  • Self-Assembly and Self-Tiling: Integrating Active Dies Across Length Scales on Flexible Substrates

    Page(s): 85 - 99
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (2078 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    This paper reports on recent progress in the field of directed self-assembly, wherein discrete inorganic semiconductor device components are assembled on flexible substrates, and compares these results with prior work. The research aims to develop self-assembly-based chiplet assembly processes that can extend minimal die sizes and throughput beyond what is currently possible with robotic pick and place methods. This manuscript concentrates on self-assembly that is driven by the reduction of surface free energy between liquid solder-coated areas on a substrate and metal-coated contacts on semiconductor dies that act as binding sites. Scaling prior results to sub-100 micrometer-sized components has required a transition to a new self-assembly platform. Specifically, recent work has moved from a drum delivery concept to a new scheme that uses a stepwise reduction of interfacial free energy at a triple interface between oil, water, and a penetrating solder-patterned substrate to introduce components. Finally, this paper also discusses design rules to produce highly periodic “self-tiled” domains on rigid, flexible, and curved substrates. We describe discrete, self-tiled, and microconcentrator-augmented solar cell modules as applications that are fault tolerant and reduce the amount of Si material used by up to a factor of 22 when compared to conventional cells. View full abstract»

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  • Mechanical Design and Characterization for MEMS Thin-Film Packaging

    Page(s): 100 - 109
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    In this paper, a thin-film packaging approach is developed. It is meant to provide microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices with hermetic encapsulation that is sufficiently strong for transfer molding. A flat slab structure supported by columns is considered as basic geometry for the mechanical model. It takes into account both the plate deflection and the stress at the interface with the columns. To verify the model validity, thin-film packages are fabricated using silicon nitride as material for the capping layer. Both high- and low-temperature processes are used to fabricate the packages. The packages differ for the diameter of the columns (from 2 μm to 28 μm), the distances between columns (from 20 μm to 100 μm), and the capping layer thickness (from 3 μm to 7 μm). The packages are tested at different pressures up to 12.5 MPa (125 bar). Failure points agree well with the mechanical model. The largest package fabricated is a square package of 300 μm side length and with four columns (10 μm diameter) in the middle. It withstands a pressure of 10 MPa with a thin SiN capping layer with a thickness of 6 μm. Moreover, the packages are carried through grinding, dicing, and transfer molding, demonstrating that the presented thin-film encapsulation approach is robust enough for commercial first-level packaging. View full abstract»

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  • Poly-SiGe-Based MEMS Thin-Film Encapsulation

    Page(s): 110 - 120
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    This paper presents an attractive poly-SiGe thin-film packaging and MEM (microelectromechanical) platform technology for the generic integration of various packaged MEM devices above standard CMOS. Hermetic packages with sizes up to 1 mm2 and different sealed-in pressures ( ~ 100 kPa and ~ 2 kPa) are demonstrated. The use of a porous cover on top of the release holes avoids deposition inside the cavity during sealing, but leads to a sealed-in pressure of approximately 100 kPa, i.e. atmospheric pressure. Vacuum ( ~ 2 kPa) sealing has been achieved by direct deposition of a sealing material on the SiGe capping layer. Packaged functional accelerometers sealed at around 100 kPa have an equivalent performance in measuring accelerations of about 1 g compared to a piezoelectric commercial reference device. Vacuum-sealed beam resonators survive a 1000 h 85°C/85%RH highly accelerated storage test and 1000 thermal cycles between -40°C and 150°C. View full abstract»

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  • A Thermoelectric Power Sensor and Its Package Based on MEMS Technology

    Page(s): 121 - 131
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1471 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    The output voltages of the thermoelectric power sensor generally have the frequency-dependent characteristic, which influences the measurement accuracy of microwave power. To explain the microwave frequency-dependent characteristic, the electrothermal conversion principle, and the thermoelectric conversion principle are researched. This thermoelectric power sensor is designed and fabricated using microelectromechanical systems technology and GaAs monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) process, and an economy package solution is given for this thermoelectric power sensor. This power sensor is measured at X-band with input power in the 20 dBm (100 mW) range before and after package. Over the 100-mW dynamic range, the maximum relative error of the power measurement is 5.9% before calibration. After calibration, the maximum relative error becomes 0.96%, and the power measurement is almost independent of the microwave frequency interference. The sensitivity is about 0.16 and 0.21 mV/mW with excellent linearity before and after package, respectively. According to the measurement results, the feasibility of direct back-side attaching with the chip on the carrier brings an economy package solution for the thermoelectric power sensor. Furthermore, in addition to excellent linearity and improved frequency-dependent characteristic, another significant advantage is that this power sensor can be integrated with MMICs and other planar connecting circuit structures with zero dc power consumption. View full abstract»

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  • Novel First-Level Interconnect Techniques for Flip Chip on MEMS Devices

    Page(s): 132 - 144
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    Flip-chip packaging is desirable for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices because it reduces the overall package size and allows scaling up the number of MEMS chips through 3-D stacks. In this report, we demonstrate three novel techniques to create first-level interconnect (FLI) on MEMS: 1) Dip and attach technology for Ag epoxy; 2) Dispense technology for solder paste; 3) Dispense, pull, and attach technology (DPAT) for solder paste. The above techniques required no additional microfabrication steps, produced no visible surface contamination on the MEMS active structures, and generated high-aspect-ratio interconnects. The developed FLIs were successfully tested on MEMS moveable microelectrodes microfabricated by SUMMiTV™ process producing no apparent detrimental effect due to outgassing. The bumping processes were successfully applied on Al-deposited bond pads of 100 μm × 100 μm with an average bump height of 101.3 μm for Ag and 184.8 μm for solder (63Sn, 37Pb). DPAT for solder paste produced bumps with the aspect ratio of 1.8 or more. The average shear strengths of Ag and solder bumps were 78 MPa and 689 kPa, respectively. The electrical test on Ag bumps at 794 A/cm2 demonstrated reliable electrical interconnects with negligible resistance. These scalable FLI technologies are potentially useful for MEMS flip-chip packaging and 3-D stacking. View full abstract»

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  • Parametric Study of Zigzag Microstructure for Vibrational Energy Harvesting

    Page(s): 145 - 160
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    A comprehensive parametric study is presented on the vibration and the energy harvesting performance of a low-frequency zigzag energy harvester. The zigzag microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) vibrational energy harvesters have low natural frequencies which match the low-frequency range of ambient vibrations. The harvesters can, therefore, be designed to resonate with ambient excitation. The power produced by energy harvesters at resonance is orders of magnitude larger than off resonance power. The paper aims at providing an easy-to-use, comprehensive tool for designing the harvesters for different applications. The two key characteristics of the vibrational energy harvesters are their resonance frequency and their power transfer function. We formulate both vibrations and power production of the zigzag MEMS harvesters in nondimensional equations. The paper advances the state of the art in MEMS energy harvesting research area by identifying the dimensionless parameters governing mechanical vibrations and energy generation. We also investigate how the resonant frequency and the maximum power vary with each of the corresponding dimensionless parameters. The graphs summarize the parametric studies and provide sufficient tools for design of zigzag harvesters. The natural frequencies are related to six dimensionless variables, and the power transfer functions depend on 12 dimensionless parameters. View full abstract»

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  • An Analytical Capacitance Model of Temperature-Sensitive, Large-Displacement Multimorph Cantilevers: Numerical and Experimental Validation

    Page(s): 161 - 170
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1001 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    This paper presents a new experimentally validated analytical capacitance macromodel for microelectromechanical systems large-displacement cantilever beams. The presented model successfully captures 1) the deformed cantilever shape under large-displacement conditions and when the beam is subjected to simultaneous thermal and residual stresses; 2) the electric field and capacitance between the curled beam and an electrode underneath it from room temperature to over 200 °C. All analytical models are verified through finite-element analysis and, for the first time, experimentally validated for deflections over 120 μm and temperatures above 200 °C. We start by extending a multimorph model originally proposed to analyze piezoelectric actuators, to also consider thermal and residual (postfabrication) strains under large-displacement conditions. The model is experimentally validated through measurements conducted on SiO2/Ti/Au cantilevers fabricated on silicon wafers. The average error between the measured and simulated displacements is less than 4% and 3% at the beam midpoints and tips, respectively, for the entire range of 20-250 °C . Capacitance measurements conducted to over 200 °C show an average deviation from the macromodel of 6.4% over the range of 20-213 °C. The standard deviation for capacitance error is 5.4%, and the maximum error is 15.3%. View full abstract»

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  • Cylindrical Surfaces Enable Wavelength-Selective Extinction and Sub-0.2 nm Linewidth in 250 \mu\hbox {m} -Gap Silicon Fabry–Pérot Cavities

    Page(s): 171 - 180
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    In this paper, we propose two different designs of micromachined Fabry-Pérot optical cavities, with first motivation of improving the quality factor (Q -factor) and in the same time allowing increased cavity length L. Our approach consists of providing a solution to the main loss mechanism in conventional FP cavities related to the expansion of the Gaussian light beam after multiple reflections inside the cavity. The first design is based on all-silicon cylindrical Bragg mirrors, which provide 1-D confinement of light. In addition to wavelength selectivity, the first design also demonstrates its potential for a new class of applications, including wavelength selective extinction through mode-selective excitation, where the fiber-to-cavity distance is used as the control parameter. The second design is based on cylindrical Bragg mirrors combined with a fiber rod lens to provide a complete solution for 2-D confinement of light. This approach outperforms the first design in terms of Q-factor, of nearly 9000 for around 250 μm-long cavity, which suggests its potential use for biochemical sensing and analysis as well as cavity enhancement applications requiring high Q.L values. View full abstract»

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  • Fabrication and Analysis of a MEMS NIR Fabry–Pérot Interferometer

    Page(s): 181 - 189
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (886 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    We report the design and fabrication of a tunable MEMS Fabry-Pérot étalon for use in microscale spectroscopic applications. The reflective elements of the interferometer are dielectric mirror stacks optimized for 1500-nm light and the tunability arises via capacitive attraction of a translatable mirror on a spring. The mirror reflectivity was measured to be 97.3%, corresponding to a calculated finesse of 115, while the measured linewidth and FSR are 70 cm-1 and 334 cm-1, respectively, corresponding to a measured finesse of 5. View full abstract»

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  • Low-Voltage Widely Tunable Photonic Crystal Channel Drop Filter in SOI Wafer

    Page(s): 190 - 197
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    We present the design, fabrication, and characterization of an electrostatically tunable optical channel drop filter based on 1-D photonic crystals (PCs) in silicon-on-insulator optical bench platform. Anisotropic etching of the device layer using deep reactive ion etching is used for the realization of the device. The moving parts are released by etching the buried oxide layer using wet etchants. High wavelength sensitivity of 9 nm/100 mV is achieved by moving the two constituent PCs together. Each PC half is moved by more than 250 nm on the application of 4 V effectively shrinking the cavity width by more than 500 nm. A wavelength tuning range of 70 nm with dropped channel bandwidth less than 8 nm in the 1550 nm-1620 nm wavelength range is demonstrated. View full abstract»

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  • The First Launch of an Autonomous Thrust-Driven Microrobot Using Nanoporous Energetic Silicon

    Page(s): 198 - 205
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (544 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    As the capability and complexity of robotic platforms continue to evolve from the macro to the micron scale, the challenge of achieving autonomy requires the development of robust, lightweight architectures. These architectures must provide a platform upon which actuators, control, sensing, power, and communication modules are integrated for optimal performance. In this paper, the first autonomous jumping microrobotic platform is demonstrated using a hybrid integration approach to assemble on-board control, sensing, power, and actuation directly onto a polymer chassis. For the purposes of this paper, jumping is defined as brief parabolic motion achieved via an actuation pulse at takeoff. In this paper, the actuation pulse comes from the rapid release of chemical energy to create propulsion. The actuation pulse lasts several microseconds and is achieved using a novel high-force/low-power thrust actuator, nanoporous energetic silicon, resulting in 250 μJ of kinetic energy delivered to the robot and a vertical height of approximately 8 cm. View full abstract»

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Aims & Scope

The topics of interest include, but are not limited to: devices ranging in size from microns to millimeters, IC-compatible fabrication techniques, other fabrication techniques, measurement of micro phenomena, theoretical results, new materials and designs, micro actuators, micro robots, micro batteries, bearings, wear, reliability, electrical interconnections, micro telemanipulation, and standards appropriate to MEMS. Application examples and application oriented devices in fluidics, optics, bio-medical engineering, etc., are also of central interest.

Full Aims & Scope

Meet Our Editors

Editor-in-Chief
Christofer Hierold
ETH Zürich, Micro and Nanosystems