A new avenue for MEMS-based sensor design

Sep 02, 2009
A new avenue for MEMS-based sensor design
Optical micrograph of a pair of electrically coupled flexural wine glass mode ring resonators

Mr Pradyumna Thiruvenkatanathan, a second year doctoral student in Engineering, is the recipient of the best student paper award in the sensors and transducers sub-field at the IEEE Frequency Control conference. The IEEE Frequency Control conference is a premier event highlighting research in the areas of frequency and timing, frequency control and related technologies including Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS).

MEMS leverages integrated circuit technology to miniaturise and actuators and integrate complex systems combining mechanical and electronic functionality on a single substrate. These thumbnail sized complex physical systems can "compute" as well as "sense" and "interact" with their environment. , therefore, adds the "eyes" and "arms" to the "brains" on microelectronic . MEMS technology first emerged in the 1960's during the early years of development in integrated circuit manufacturing. However, it has only been over the past decade that the technology has seen wider commercial success with applications in disparate domains such as portable electronics, automotive systems and biomedical devices.

Pradyumna's conference paper presents a new avenue for MEMS-based sensor design taking advantage of the concept of vibration localisation in nearly identical coupled resonators. In the device implementation reported in the conference paper, a pair of miniature "tuning forks" are coupled together electrically in a way which can be precisely controlled, and the resulting pattern of vibration is strongly dependent on any asymmetry or mismatch between the coupled resonators.

In a sensor application, the variation in the structural properties of one of the resonators relative to the other would be picked up by measuring the extent of this vibration localization. Pradyumna's conference paper experimentally verified a significant enhancement in the sensitivity to perturbations in stiffness compared to current MEMS sensors, while demonstrating a substantial rejection of common mode effects such as temperature and pressure. Pradyumna is now investigating the limitations to sensitivity enhancement and signal-to-noise in these systems, as well as extending the concept to demonstrate high sensitivity inertial sensors and electrometers.

Pradyumna is advised by Professor Jim Woodhouse and supervised by Dr Ashwin Seshia. Dr Jize Yan, a postdoctoral research associate in Engineering, is a co-author on the conference paper. The research group is embedded in the Nanoscience Centre.

Pradyumna's conference paper can be downloaded from the IEEE website here.

Source: University of Cambridge (news : web)

Explore further: Florentine basilica gets high-tech physical

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Modern ceramics help advance technology

May 08, 2008

Many important electronic devices used by people today would be impossible without the use of ceramics. A new study published in the Journal of the American Ceramic Society illustrates the use of ceramic materials in the ...

Recommended for you

Florentine basilica gets high-tech physical

17 hours ago

Late last year, two University of California, San Diego students set out for Florence, Italy, to diagnose a patient that had no prior medical record, couldn't be poked or prodded in any way, and hadn't been ...

Radar sensors support parking management

18 hours ago

Siemens is researching the use of sensor networks in an advanced parking management solution that will hopefully counter the increasing parking space crisis in cities. The online magazine Pictures of the ...

SatisFactory project for more attractive factories launched

18 hours ago

Known as either "Industrial Revolution 4.0" or as "Industrial Renaissance", the need for visionary industrial approaches is widely recognized in the European Union. SatisFactory, a three-year research project funded by the ...

Life-saving train design is rarely used

Feb 25, 2015

(AP)—Nearly a decade ago, the U.S. secretary of transportation stood at the site of a horrendous commuter train crash near downtown Los Angeles and called for the adoption of a new train car design that ...

Lexus tops auto dependability survey

Feb 25, 2015

(AP)—Lexus is the most dependable car brand for the fourth consecutive year in rankings that increasingly hinge on high-tech features.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.