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Berkeley Sensor & Actuator Center
 

The Berkeley Sensor & Actuator Center (BSAC) is the Graduated National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for Microsensors and Microactuators. We conduct industry-relevant, interdisciplinary research on micro- and nano-scale sensors, moving mechanical elements, microfluidics, materials, processes & systems that take advantage of progress made in integrated-circuit, bio, and polymer technologies.

BSAC Current Active Projects as of September 19, 2021

Number of records: 53
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PROJECT MATERIALS
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PROJECT TITLEADVISOR
1Physical Sensors & DevicesBPN743BPN743 WebsiteHighly Responsive pMUTsLiwei Lin
2BioMEMSBPN795BPN795 WebsiteAn Implantable Microsensor for Cancer SurveillanceMichel M. Maharbiz
3Physical Sensors & DevicesBPN799BPN799 Website3D Printed MicrosensorsLiwei Lin
4Wireless, RF & Smart DustBPN803BPN803 WebsiteSingle Chip MoteKristofer S.J. Pister, Ali M. Niknejad
7Wireless, RF & Smart DustBPN859BPN859 WebsiteHigh Frequency Oscillator CharacterizationClark T.-C. Nguyen
8NanoPlasmonics, Microphotonics & ImagingBPN869BPN869 WebsiteEfficient Waveguide-Coupling of Electrically Injected Optical Antenna-LEDMing C. Wu
9BioMEMSBPN882BPN882 WebsiteAn Ultra-Thin Molecular Imaging Skin for Intraoperative Cancer Detection Using Time-Resolved CMOS SensorsBernhard E. Boser, Mekhail Anwar
10Physical Sensors & DevicesBPN902BPN902 WebsiteJumping Microrobots for Low-cost Asteroid ProspectingKristofer S.J. Pister
13NanoTechnology: Materials, Processes & DevicesBPN913BPN913 WebsiteAmine-modified ZIF-8 for Colorimetric CO2 SensingRoya Maboudian
15BioMEMSBPN924BPN924 WebsiteMultimodality Platform for Neurogenesis and Neural Signal Recording After StrokeMichel M. Maharbiz
16NanoTechnology: Materials, Processes & DevicesBPN935BPN935 WebsiteLow Temperature Deposited Thin Films for p-Type Field Effect Transistors and CircuitsAli Javey
17Wireless, RF & Smart DustBPN939BPN939 WebsiteAnalysis and Benchmarking of MEMS-Based Super-Regenerative ReceiversClark T.-C. Nguyen
18Physical Sensors & DevicesBPN941BPN941 WebsiteInvestigating Ultrasonic ActuatorLiwei Lin
19Physical Sensors & DevicesBPN946BPN946 WebsiteSensor for Natural Sweat AnalysisAli Javey
20Physical Sensors & DevicesBPN951BPN951 WebsiteBerkeley Low-cost Interplanetary Solar Sail (BLISS) New ProjectKristofer S.J. Pister
22Physical Sensors & DevicesBPN956BPN956 WebsiteTime-of-Flight Hardware for the Solar Probe ANalyzer for Ions (SPAN-Ion) New ProjectKristofer S.J. Pister
23NanoPlasmonics, Microphotonics & ImagingBPN721BPN721 WebsiteFMCW LiDAR for Distance and Velocity Detection with Large Range and High ResolutionMing C. Wu
24Wireless, RF & Smart DustBPN735BPN735 WebsiteWalking Silicon MicrorobotsKristofer S.J. Pister
25NanoPlasmonics, Microphotonics & ImagingBPN751BPN751 WebsiteLarge-Scale Silicon Photonic MEMS Switch with Sub-Microsecond Response TimeMing C. Wu
26Physical Sensors & DevicesBPN826BPN826 WebsiteAutonomous Flying MicrorobotsKristofer S.J. Pister
27Wireless, RF & Smart DustBPN828BPN828 WebsiteZero Quiescent Power Micromechanical ReceiverClark T.-C. Nguyen
29MicropowerBPN855BPN855 WebsiteFlexible Energy Harvester, Sensor, and ActuatorLiwei Lin
30Wireless, RF & Smart DustBPN866BPN866 WebsiteWide-Bandwidth UHF Bandpass FiltersClark T.-C. Nguyen
31Wireless, RF & Smart DustBPN871BPN871 WebsiteAn Ultrasonic Implantable for Continuous In Vivo Monitoring of Tissue OxygenationMichel M. Maharbiz
32Physical Sensors & DevicesBPN876BPN876 WebsiteMetal-Organic and Covalent-Organic Frameworks for Chemical Sensing with High SelectivityRoya Maboudian, Carlo Carraro
33Physical Sensors & DevicesBPN894BPN894 WebsiteAcoustically-Driven, Electrically-Controlled MicroswimmerMichel M. Maharbiz
34NanoTechnology: Materials, Processes & DevicesBPN914BPN914 WebsiteLow-Power Microheater Platform-Based Gas SensorRoya Maboudian, Carlo Carraro
36Physical Sensors & DevicesBPN922BPN922 WebsiteAnalog Optical Voltage SensorMichel M. Maharbiz
37NanoTechnology: Materials, Processes & DevicesBPN925BPN925 WebsitePerfectly Bright Low Dimensional SemiconductorsAli Javey
38Wireless, RF & Smart DustBPN926BPN926 WebsiteWireless Implantable Fluorescence Imager for Microscopic Residual Tumor in Breast CancerBernhard E. Boser, Mekhail Anwar
39Wireless, RF & Smart DustBPN930BPN930 WebsiteRobust MEMS GripperKristofer S.J. Pister
41NanoTechnology: Materials, Processes & DevicesBPN940BPN940 WebsiteSelf-healing Materials for Sensing, Energy Storage and Harvesting ApplicationsLiwei Lin
42Wireless, RF & Smart DustBPN953BPN953 WebsiteLong-Term Drift of MEMS-Based Oscillators New ProjectClark T.-C. Nguyen
43NanoPlasmonics, Microphotonics & ImagingBPN957BPN957 WebsiteMEMS Switch based Integrated FTIR New ProjectMing C. Wu
44Physical Sensors & DevicesBPN959BPN959 WebsiteSelf-Righting for Micro Robots New ProjectKristofer S.J. Pister
46Physical Sensors & DevicesBPN608BPN608 WebsiteFM GyroscopeBernhard E. Boser
47NanoTechnology: Materials, Processes & DevicesBPN704BPN704 WebsiteVapor-Liquid-Solid Growth of Polycrystalline Indium Phosphide Thin Films on MetalAli Javey
48Wireless, RF & Smart DustBPN814BPN814 WebsiteUHF Capacitive-Gap Transduced Resonators With High Cx/CoClark T.-C. Nguyen
49Wireless, RF & Smart DustBPN848BPN848 WebsiteWireless Neural Sensors: Robust Ultrasonic Backscatter Communication in the BrainMichel M. Maharbiz
50Physical Sensors & DevicesBPN857BPN857 WebsiteMiniature Autonomous RocketsKristofer S.J. Pister
51NanoTechnology: Materials, Processes & DevicesBPN867BPN867 WebsiteFully Integrated CMOS-Metal MEMS SystemsClark T.-C. Nguyen
52Physical Sensors & DevicesBPN873BPN873 WebsiteSmall Autonomous Robot Actuator (SARA)Kristofer S.J. Pister
53Physical Sensors & DevicesBPN877BPN877 WebsitePulse Acquisition and Diagnosis for Health MonitoringLiwei Lin
54BioMEMSBPN890BPN890 WebsiteHydrogel Actuated Neural ProbeMichel M. Maharbiz
55Physical Sensors & DevicesBPN915BPN915 WebsiteControl of Microrobots with Reinforcement LearningKristofer S.J. Pister
56Physical Sensors & DevicesBPN920BPN920 WebsiteSweat Rate Sensors with High-Throughput FabricationAli Javey
57NanoTechnology: Materials, Processes & DevicesBPN931BPN931 WebsiteMultiplexed Electroluminescent Device for Emission from Infrared to Ultraviolet WavelengthAli Javey
58NanoPlasmonics, Microphotonics & ImagingBPN933BPN933 WebsiteOrdered Ag@MOF Core-shell Nanostructures for SERS-based Chemical AnalysisRoya Maboudian, Carlo Carraro
59NanoTechnology: Materials, Processes & DevicesBPN947BPN947 WebsiteBlack Phosphorus Based Infrared Light Emitting DiodesAli Javey
60NanoTechnology: Materials, Processes & DevicesBPN948BPN948 WebsiteWireless Tactile Stimulation with MEMS Inchworm MotorsKristofer S.J. Pister, Eric Paulos
61Physical Sensors & DevicesBPN949BPN949 WebsiteOptoelectronic Reservoir ComputingMing C. Wu
63NanoTechnology: Materials, Processes & DevicesBPN955BPN955 WebsiteNanostructured Colorimetric Biosensor New ProjectLiwei Lin
64Physical Sensors & DevicesBPN958BPN958 WebsitePrinted Miniaturized Li-ion Batteries for Autonomous Microsystems New ProjectKristofer S.J. Pister; Ana C. Arias

Project Abstracts

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Table of Projects
Physical Sensors & Devices
Project IDBPN743
Project Title Highly Responsive pMUTs
Status Continuing
Funding Source Member Fees
Keywords Piezoelectric Micromachined Ultrasonic Transducers (pMUTs), Curved pMUTS, Bimorph pMUTs, Dual Electrode Bimorph pMUT, Ring pMUTs, Pinned pMUTs, Ultrasonic Sensors
Researchers Zhichun Shao, Sedat Pala, Yande Peng
Abstract Ultrasonics has been realized as a nondestructive measurement method for a variety of applications, such as medical imaging, healthcare monitoring, structural testing, range finding, and motion sensing. Furthermore, high intensity ultrasound can be used in therapeutic treatments, such as lithotripsy for kidney stone comminution, hyperthermia for cancer therapy, high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) for laparoscopic surgery and transcranial sonothrombolysis for brain stroke treatment. MEMS ultrasonic transducers are known to have several pronounced advantages over the conventional ultrasound devices, namely higher resolution, higher bandwidth, and lower power consumption. The main purpose of this project is to develop new architectures of Piezoelectric Micromachined Ultrasonic Transducers (pMUTs) with higher electro-mechano-acoustical energy efficiency and increased sensitivity while using CMOS-compatible fabrication technology, making them suitable for battery-powered handheld devices. The specific focus is on increasing the electromechanical coupling, bandwidth, and acoustic pressure output in aims of creating power-efficient hand-held medical devices for diagnosis/therapy.
Advisor Liwei Lin

 
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BioMEMS
Project IDBPN795
Project Title An Implantable Microsensor for Cancer Surveillance
Status Continuing
Funding Source Member Fees
Keywords prostate cancer, beta radiation, Solid-state detectors, Low noise, CMOS, Imaging
Researchers Kyoungtae Lee
Abstract We aim to develop a micro surveillance device for early identification of cancerous cell growth in collaboration with radiation oncology research from UCSF. UCSF will develop a molecular probe that specifically targets prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), which is overexpressed on prostate cancer cells. By radiolabeling these probes, cancer sites may be monitored in conjunction with an implantable array. We will design a 100x100um semiconductor radiation sensor that can feasibly detect and localize cancer recurrence from 10^4 - 10^5 cells when placed near a cancer site. The sensors will use ultrasonic methods for power and signal transmission, as demonstrated in Dongjin Seo, et al., arXiv preprint arXiV:1307.2196 (2013). Initial sensor design will enhance CMOS device sensitivity to time-dependent signal variation and will also explore signal recovery in the limited biological window where the radiolabelled probe is detectable.
Advisor Michel M. Maharbiz

 
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Physical Sensors & Devices
Project IDBPN799
Project Title 3D Printed Microsensors
Status Continuing
Funding Source Other
Keywords Microsensor, 3D printing, Metallization
Researchers Jacqueline Elwood
Abstract We aim to develop multi-functional, multi-material 3D printed structures for development of 3D printed microsensors. Using these multi-functional 3D printed structures, we plan to demonstrate simple sensing platforms, such as EtOH sensing for monitoring of food quality, fermentation, or ethanol content in the body, for proof-of-concept in combining conductive materials with commercially available 3D printing materials or 3D printers. Upon further development, this combination could prove critical in resolving the foremost limitations of conventional diagnostic devices (i.e. portability, low-cost and simple fabrication procedure and ease-of-use operation).
Advisor Liwei Lin

 
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Wireless, RF & Smart Dust
Project IDBPN803
Project Title Single Chip Mote
Status Continuing
Funding Source Industry Sponsored Research
Keywords
Researchers Alex Moreno, Austin Patel, Anju Toor, Lydia Lee, Andrew Fearing
Abstract The single chip micro mote 3C (SCµM-3C) was designed to be a wireless sensor node on a chip capable of joining a network as a bare die with a standards compliant BLE and 802.15.4 mesh communication radio while fully self-contained and functional with no external components. SCµM-3C’s deep level of integration allows users to connect a battery, program using the touchless optical programmer and be ready to connect to the network. In the span of one year, SCµM-3C has been used to demonstrate a variety of feats once thought not possible for crystal- free radios or similar off-the-shelf components. Advancements in communications as a crystal- free radio include SCµM-3C joining an 802.15.4 mesh network running OpenWSN, transmitting BLE beacon packets to a cell phone, and RF temperature compensation via both initial calibration and calibration-free in-use algorithms. As a sensor, SCµM-3C was shown to localize itself in 3D space with ~1 cm accuracy and measure temperatures from 0 to 100C with <2 C accuracy. When interfacing with external sensors and devices SCµM-3C provides ease of use due to the 16 GPIOs and ADC on-chip. This has allowed SCµM-3C to interface with a variety of devices for demos such as: wireless gas sensing, operation from a 5x5mm2 printed LiPo battery, operation from inductively coupled wireless power transmission, solar powered wireless temperature sensor and a fully autonomous solar powered wireless inchworm motor and micro-gripper. These demos are only the beginning of the full potential of this novel system-on-chip. The next goals are: improving the range of the optical receiver, designing a 60 GHz radio for on-chip antenna integration, high bandwidth and low power transmission, printing batteries directly on SCµM-3C, and designing SCµM-3C PCBs for Asian giant hornet tracking and smart bandages.
Advisor Kristofer S.J. Pister, Ali M. Niknejad

 
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Wireless, RF & Smart Dust
Project IDBPN859
Project Title High Frequency Oscillator Characterization
Status Continuing
Funding Source Federal
Keywords Oscillators, phase noise, frequency stability, resonators
Researchers Kieran Peleaux, QianYi Xie, Kevin H. Zheng
Abstract This project aims to study and understand fundamental mechanisms that govern phase noise, aging, thermal stability, and acceleration stability in high frequency micromechanical resonator oscillators.
Advisor Clark T.-C. Nguyen

 
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NanoPlasmonics, Microphotonics & Imaging
Project IDBPN869
Project Title Efficient Waveguide-Coupling of Electrically Injected Optical Antenna-LED
Status Continuing
Funding Source Federal
Keywords light emitting diode, waveguide coupling, optical antenna
Researchers Nicolas M. Andrade
Abstract Optical interconnects require fast and efficient electrically-injected nanoscale light sources that can be coupled efficiently to a low-loss photonic waveguide. The spontaneous emission rate can be increased by coupling the active region of a nanoscale emitter to an optical antenna, which would allow for modulation rates greater than 50 GHz. The aim of this project is to demonstrate high waveguide-coupled external quantum efficiency of an optical antenna to a single mode InP waveguide.
Advisor Ming C. Wu

 
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BioMEMS
Project IDBPN882
Project Title An Ultra-Thin Molecular Imaging Skin for Intraoperative Cancer Detection Using Time-Resolved CMOS Sensors
Status Continuing
Funding Source Federal
Keywords
Researchers Hossein Najafi
Abstract Successful treatment of cancer requires targeted and individualized treatment, and subsequently an assessment of the state of the tumor being examined, both gross and microscopic, however oncologists have no method of identifying microscopic tumor in the patient.  This results in tumor cells being left behind in patients undergoing surgery. Currently, the only way to determine the presence of any microscopic residual is to examine the excised tumor, stained with a proper marker, under a microscope, which only adds to the complexity and length of the surgery and treatment. The two current alternatives in these cases  are either to do a more expanded resection, causing more healthy cells to be removed as well in the process, or to simply estimate the residual disease to be negligible and risk a recurrence of the cancer. The modern biomarkers and staining of the cancer cells are sufficiently reliable to be detectable, nevertheless, they still need bulky focusing optics and high performance optical filters and as a result incompatible with the minimally invasive oncologic procedures of imaging small tumor cavities in surgical operations. Our solution brings the tools of pathology into the operation room (OR) and the tumor itself allowing to visualize and examine the tumor bed in real-time and alleviating the need for further operations in the future. This work takes advantage of the unique feature of the biomarker being used, enabling them to be excited at near- infrared (NIR) wavelengths and thanks to Silicon’s optical features, we can leverage its optical properties in the NIR range with a time- gated approach, to eliminate the need for optical equipment during the imaging process. As a result, we can almost effortlessly provide real-time information on the presence of potential residual disease in the patient during surgery and provide a direct visualization of microscopic tumor residuals in the patient to allow for a guided resection and a targeted treatment.
Advisor Bernhard E. Boser, Mekhail Anwar

 
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Physical Sensors & Devices
Project IDBPN902
Project Title Jumping Microrobots for Low-cost Asteroid Prospecting
Status Continuing
Funding Source Federal
Keywords
Researchers Daniel Teal, Hani Gomez
Abstract We are exploring potential applications of our jumping microrobots in space. While our 1.9x1.2x0.06cm robot has previously jumped 3mm (and can theoretically achieve 3cm or much more) in Earth gravity, the same actuator would reach escape velocity in the 6 micro-g gravity of the Near Earth Asteroid (NEA) Bennu, the target of NASAs current OSIRIS-REx sample return mission. This implies it is possible to build a thousand-robot swarm of 1cm^3 1g robot capable of hopping around and measuring an NEA. This is useful because such a swarm is simultaneously lighter (by orders of magnitude) and more capable (because it can contact the surface, with the swarm size insuring against broken robots or unexpected terrain) than any currently proposed probe or rover, and thus enables low-cost exploration of NEAs (which are too small to observe sufficiently via Earth telescope) for in-situ resource utilization and asteroid mining.
Advisor Kristofer S.J. Pister

 
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NanoTechnology: Materials, Processes & Devices
Project IDBPN913
Project Title Amine-modified ZIF-8 for Colorimetric CO2 Sensing
Status Continuing
Funding Source State & Other Govt
Keywords metal-organic frameworks, gas detection, colorimetric sensor
Researchers Adrian K. Davey
Abstract Carbon dioxide (CO2) has been shown to contribute to poor indoor air quality and associated human health consequences, such as shortness of breath, nasal and optic irritation, dizziness, and nausea. Nondispersive infrared (NDIR) sensors can probe low CO2 concentrations ( 400 ppm) but are expensive and difficult to miniaturize. The commercial colorimetric CO2 sensor is passive and low-cost but lacks the chemical functions necessary for sensitivity to low CO2 concentrations. In this work, we aim to address these shortcomings by using metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) as highly-porous, crystalline, chemically-stable sorbents for strong adsorption of CO2. The colorimetric CO2 gas sensor is being developed with three components: (i) the MOF sorbent, ZIF-8; (ii) the CO2 capturing group, ethylenediamine (ED); and (iii) the pH indicator, phenolsulfonpthalein (PSP). The adsorption process protonates pH indicators incorporated inside pores to generate color change.
Advisor Roya Maboudian

 
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BioMEMS
Project IDBPN924
Project Title Multimodality Platform for Neurogenesis and Neural Signal Recording After Stroke
Status Continuing
Funding Source Other
Keywords Neuron, Stroke, Neurogenesis, Brain-Machine Interface
Researchers Wentian Mi
Abstract Stroke is a leading cause of disability in the United States. Recovery from stroke is complex and ultimately limited by the brains limited ability to regenerate damaged tissue. Ideally, we would want to drive neurogenesis and angiogenesis in a stroke lesion to aid in recovery. We propose a multimodality platform for stimulating neurogenesis which simultaneously allows for electrophysiological recording of neurons in the lesion area after stroke. Our aim is to provide a paradigm for making complex substrates for nervous tissue. With various devices integrated, multiple functions can be realized on a single neural interface device. Conductive wires and optical fibers can implement the electrophysiological and optogenetic applications. Microfluidics could not only supply nutrition and oxygen to the lesion area but also realize the chemical stimulation. With the potential of fusion with brain tissue, our device could also work as an intracortical brain-machine interface for neuroprosthetic control and neurological stimulation.
Advisor Michel M. Maharbiz

 
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NanoTechnology: Materials, Processes & Devices
Project IDBPN935
Project Title Low Temperature Deposited Thin Films for p-Type Field Effect Transistors and Circuits
Status Continuing
Funding Source Federal
Keywords transistor, p-type semiconductor
Researchers Chunsong Zhao
Abstract Developing low-temperature grown semiconducting films is critical for the development of flexible, transparent and three-dimensional monolithic integrated electronics, however, low processing temperature typically results in a poor crystallinity and a low mobility. Here, we report the realization of low-temperature fabrication of highly crystalline tellurium films with large grain size (average grain area of ~150 um2) by controlling the crystallization process of thermally evaporated Te films. Tellurium single crystals with a lateral dimensional of 6 um are realized on various substrates including glass and plastic by patterning, deposition and the low-temperature crystallization process. The field-effect transistor based on Te single grain (6-nm-thick) exhibits a superior performance with effective hole mobility of ~100 cm2V-1s-1, on/off ratio of ~105.
Advisor Ali Javey

 
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Wireless, RF & Smart Dust
Project IDBPN939
Project Title Analysis and Benchmarking of MEMS-Based Super-Regenerative Receivers
Status Continuing
Funding Source
Keywords MEMS, resonator, super-regenerative, receiver, wireless, front-end, OOK, FSK
Researchers Kevin H. Zheng
Abstract The recent MEMS-based super-regenerative receiver our group demonstrated used a tunable 65-nm-capacitive-gap transduced wine-glass disk resonator to receive and demodulate OOK signals with only 490uW of power consumption. This work aims to analyze the sensitivity and maximum bit rate for this class of receiver in the presence of adjacent-channel blockers and measure these characteristics for receivers implemented using resonators with sub-40-nm gaps.
Advisor Clark T.-C. Nguyen

 
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Physical Sensors & Devices
Project IDBPN941
Project Title Investigating Ultrasonic Actuator
Status Continuing
Funding Source Member Fees
Keywords
Researchers Sedat Pala
Abstract Lanthanum modified lead zirconate titanate (PLZT) ceramic is an important class of piezoelectric materials. It has superior performances compared to PZT, AlN and other mostly used materials. We are investigating the ultrasonic actuator using PLZT material.We will apply PLZT for the driver of the ultrasonic actuator. Final goal is develope the high density human interface device.
Advisor Liwei Lin

 
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Physical Sensors & Devices
Project IDBPN946
Project Title Sensor for Natural Sweat Analysis
Status New
Funding Source Other
Keywords wearable sweat sensor, natural sweat, sweat gland density, glove platform
Researchers Mallika Bariya
Abstract Wearable sweat sensors have emerged as attractive platforms for non-invasive health monitoring. While most sweat sensors have relied on exercise or chemical stimulation to generate sweat, natural thermoregulatory sweat is an attractive alternative as it can be accessed during routine and even sedentary activity without impeding user lifestyles, while also potentially preserving correlations between sweat and blood biomarkers. For rapid accumulation of natural sweat that enables quick, single-point measurement of sweat analytes, we develop a simple, glove-based sensing platform to capture natural sweat with minimal evaporation. This platform takes advantage of high sweat gland densities on the hand to collect 100’s of µL in just 30 min for sweat composition analysis. For precise continuous tracking of sweat composition and secretion rate, we develop a second platform consisting of a microfluidic patch that can be worn at diverse body sites. The patch uses a nanotextured filler to eliminate dead space in the sweat accumulation well, reducing temporal overheads for rapid measurement of small volumes and flow rates of natural sweat.
Advisor Ali Javey

 
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Physical Sensors & Devices
Project IDBPN951 New Project
Project Title Berkeley Low-cost Interplanetary Solar Sail (BLISS)
Status New
Funding Source Member Fees
Keywords
Researchers Alexander Alvara, Nathan Lambert, Emmanuel Sin
Abstract Space exploration often costs multiple millions of dollars for each exploratory mission to get a single piece of equipment into orbit. These missions usually return information in the form of scans or images or samples in the form of extracted material. This work proposes the manufacture and deployment of thousands of imaging capable solar sails systems with 10 gram payloads. Power generation is enabled through solar panels and batteries. Navigation is enabled through one square meter solar sails maneuvered by inchworm motors. Communications are enabled by laser transmitters and SPAD optical receivers. Computation is enabled by a $150 computer that runs Linux on a720 MHz ARM Cortex A8 with 1 GB of flash memory and 512 MB of DRAM. Extraction of materials can be accomplished by larger solar sail systems carrying multiple one gram walking, jumping, or digging microrobots that will be deployed onto asteroids or through the tail of a comet and recollected for return to Earth.
Advisor Kristofer S.J. Pister

 
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Physical Sensors & Devices
Project IDBPN956 New Project
Project Title Time-of-Flight Hardware for the Solar Probe ANalyzer for Ions (SPAN-Ion)
Status New
Funding Source Other
Keywords plasmas, solar wind, time-of-flight
Researchers Mia Mirkovic, Lydia Lee
Abstract This project seeks to develop high-speed time-of-flight hardware for ion composition measurements of the solar wind, with the possibility of use in other applications such as LIDAR. The Solar Probe ANalyzer for Ions (SPAN-Ion) on NASAs Parker Solar probe resolves ions from the solar wind by their mass- and energy-per-charge with a time-of-flight measurement between a START and STOP pulse. The target architecture for future missions trades reduced sensor complexity and mass for several orders of magnitude reduction in sensor response. A constant fraction discriminator (CFD) provides a time-of-arrival measurement independent of pulse amplitude. Chip-level integration of the CFD reduces parasitic impedances relative to board-level discrete components, minimizing pulse distortion and improving measurement accuracy. Radiation hardening is critical to ensure robustness against single event latchup (SEL) and the effects of total ionizing dose (TID).
Advisor Kristofer S.J. Pister

 
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NanoPlasmonics, Microphotonics & Imaging
Project IDBPN721
Project Title FMCW LiDAR for Distance and Velocity Detection with Large Range and High Resolution
Status Continuing
Funding Source Industry Sponsored Research
Keywords LiDAR, FMCW, metrology, 3D imaging
Researchers Xiaosheng Zhang
Abstract 3D imaging sensors have applications that span several industries and markets, from industry metrology, robotic control to autonomous vehicles. Frequency-modulated continuous-wave (FMCW) light detection and ranging (LiDAR) systems provide high-resolution anti-interference distance and velocity measurements without requiring fast electronics or high optical power but suffer from the lack of linearly tunable narrow-linewidth laser sources. Implementations typically require expensive narrow-linewidth lasers with complex feedback circuits. Instead, we report on linearizing the laser frequency sweep by using iterative learning pre-distortion of the laser drive waveform, thus reducing the need for precision feedback control or expensive tunable laser hardware. We also report on a laser phase noise compensation method to extend the detection range, and experimentally demonstrate a detection range larger than 100 m. With these two methods, long-range FMCW LiDAR with velocity detection capability can be achieved with regular commercial semiconductor lasers and a simple setup.
Advisor Ming C. Wu

 
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Wireless, RF & Smart Dust
Project IDBPN735
Project Title Walking Silicon Microrobots
Status Continuing
Funding Source Federal
Keywords Microrobotics, electrostatic, actuators, MEMS
Researchers Hani Gomez, Craig Schindler, Wei Li, Alexander Alvara
Abstract This project focuses on developing a new generation of sub-centimeter MEMS-based walking robots. These robots are based on electrostatic actuators driving planar silicon linkages, all fabricated in the device layer of a silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafer. By using electrostatic actuation, these legs have the advantage of being low power compared to other microrobot leg designs. This is key to granting the robot autonomy through low-power energy harvesting. The ultimate goal will be to join these silicon legs with a CMOS brain, battery power, a high voltage power source, and high voltage buffers to achieve a fully autonomous walking microrobot. After demonstrating locomotion of a single-legged walking robot through tethered external power, we developed a first generation silicon hexapod based on multi-chip assembly and showed it take its first steps. We have also demonstrated electrostatic inchworm motors capable of actuating a shuttle at 0.4m/s. We are now developing a next generation quadruped walking robot that uses zero insertion force MEMS socket designs for assembly. To build this quadruped robot, we are developing a seven SOI fabrication process that would allow for an optimized robotic leg design.
Advisor Kristofer S.J. Pister

 
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NanoPlasmonics, Microphotonics & Imaging
Project IDBPN751
Project Title Large-Scale Silicon Photonic MEMS Switch with Sub-Microsecond Response Time
Status Continuing
Funding Source Federal
Keywords optical switch, silicon photonics, large scale, fast, small footprint
Researchers Johannes Henriksson, Jianheng Luo, Kyungmok Kwon
Abstract We developed a new architecture suitable for building a large-scale optical switch with fast response time. We have demonstrated switches with a scale of 128x128 and speed of sub-microsecond using our new architecture. The switch architecture consists of an optical crossbar network with MEMS-actuated couplers and is implemented on a silicon photonics platform. Thanks to high integration density of the silicon photonics platform, we could integrate 128x128 switch on an area less than 2 cm2. To our knowledge this is the largest monolithic switch, and the largest silicon photonic integrated circuit, reported to date. The passive matrix architecture of our switch is fundamentally more scalable than that of multistage switches. We believe that our switch architecture can be scaled-up to larger than 1000x1000.
Advisor Ming C. Wu

 
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Physical Sensors & Devices
Project IDBPN826
Project Title Autonomous Flying Microrobots
Status Continuing
Funding Source Member Fees
Keywords electrohydrodynamics, microrobotics, ionocraft, ion thrust, MAV
Researchers Nathan Lambert, Jason Zhou, Alexander Alvara
Abstract Among the state of the art academic research on pico air vehicles, the majority has focused on biomimetic flight mechanisms (e.g. flapping wings). This project looks to develop a new microfabricated transduction mechanism for flying microrobots with the goal of opening up the application space beyond that allowed by the industry-standard quadcoptor. The proposed mechanism, electrohydrodynamic (EHD) force generated via sub-millimeter corona discharge, functions silently and with no moving parts, directly converting ion current to induced air flow. Microfabricated silicon electrodes are currently being used to create devices with thrust to weight ratios in excess of 15. Microrobots with four individually addressable thrusters have been assembled that mass about 15mg and measure less than 2cm on a side, with the capability of takeoff at about 2400V while carrying a 45mg additional payload of commercial 9- axis IMU, associated passives, and FlexPCB breakout board. A new emitter electrode design with an integrated sharp tip array pointed at the collector grid has yielded a corona onset voltage of 1450V and an unladen takeoff voltage below 2000V, decreases of 30% and 20% respectively from previous efforts on the quad- thruster. Current work is focused on demonstrating controlled hovering of the robot; the first step on this path is simulated control using experimentally measured aerodynamic drag, voltage to force response, and sensor noise values. Initial work generating PID parameters with model-based reinforcement learning is promising. Ultimately, integration with in development power systems and communications platforms (SCuM) will yield a truly autonomous flying microrobot powered by ion thrusters – the ionocraft. We are explored the applications of autonomous micro-fliers in the context of control theory and multi-agent reinforcement learning.
Advisor Kristofer S.J. Pister

 
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Wireless, RF & Smart Dust
Project IDBPN828
Project Title Zero Quiescent Power Micromechanical Receiver
Status Continuing
Funding Source Other
Keywords Wireless, RF & Smart Dust
Researchers Qiutong Jin, QianYi Xie
Abstract This project aims to explore and demonstrate a mostly mechanical receiver capable of listening signals within low-frequency and very-low-frequency range. The receiver is designed to consume zero power at standby and consume very litter power (nW) only when receiving valid bits.
Advisor Clark T.-C. Nguyen

 
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Micropower
Project IDBPN855
Project Title Flexible Energy Harvester, Sensor, and Actuator
Status Continuing
Funding Source Member Fees
Keywords Energy harvesting, flexible, stretchable, sensor
Researchers Wenying Qiu
Abstract Flexible, wearable and implantable devices are expected to become more abundant due to developments in materials and microfabrication technologies. In this project, we work with various sets of flexible materials and structures to develop 1) flexible actuators that can work at low voltageŁ»2) A proper contact state of the skin-device Under tactile feedback,; 3) Applications of actuator based on haptics feedback.
Advisor Liwei Lin

 
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Wireless, RF & Smart Dust
Project IDBPN866
Project Title Wide-Bandwidth UHF Bandpass Filters
Status Continuing
Funding Source Other
Keywords UHF, Wideband, Filter
Researchers Kieran Peleaux, Qianyi Xie
Abstract This project aims to explore the physical limitation of Capacitive- Piezoelectric resonator and Capacitively-transduced resonator for the realization of wide-bandwidth bandpass filters at UHF and oscillators.
Advisor Clark T.-C. Nguyen

 
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Wireless, RF & Smart Dust
Project IDBPN871
Project Title An Ultrasonic Implantable for Continuous In Vivo Monitoring of Tissue Oxygenation
Status Continuing
Funding Source Other
Keywords
Researchers Soner Sonmezoglu
Abstract Our group previously demonstrated a “neural dust” system for neural recording which includes an implantable device and external ultrasonic transducers to power and communicate with the implantable. In this work, we extend that paradigm, demonstrating an implantable that can measure and report tissue oxygenation. Oxygenation state is a key parameter when assessing the metabolic state of cells and tissues, tissue and organ viability, tumor state, among many examples in both basic science and clinical care. Various types of methods for the detection of oxygen have appeared in recent years, including the Clark electrode, Winkler titration, and optical sensing. Among these, there is a growing interest in optical sensors for use in consumer electronic devices because they possess advantages of (a) fast response, (b) high sensitivity, (c) good precision and accuracy, (d) lack of oxygen consumption during measurements, (e) ease of miniaturization, (f) low cost, and (g) enabling in vivo, non-invasive and real- time measurements. In this project, we aim to develop a miniaturized oxygen sensor system consisting of a micro-light emitting diodes (LEDs) for optical excitation, bio- compatible thin-film for encapsulation of an oxygen-sensitive fluorophore, ultrasonic transducer for wireless communication and wireless powering of the implantable device, and single-chip CMOS integrated circuit for optical detection and signal processing. The sensor system determines oxygen level utilizing the fluorescence lifetime of a fluorophore, which is a function of the oxygen concentration of the thin film that is influenced by the surrounding environment.
Advisor Michel M. Maharbiz

 
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Physical Sensors & Devices
Project IDBPN876
Project Title Metal-Organic and Covalent-Organic Frameworks for Chemical Sensing with High Selectivity
Status Continuing
Funding Source State & Other Govt
Keywords Sensing, Metal-organic frameworks, tunability, chemistry, ChemFET, CS-FET
Researchers David Gardner
Abstract A classic challenge in gas sensing is tunability of sensing material to suit the specific application. A new class of materials, metal- organic frameworks (MOFs), can take on thousands of forms, each with unique chemical adsorption properties. Metal-organic frameworks are made up of metal-cluster nodes connected by organic linkers. Changing the metal cluster or the organic linker can modulate the adsorptive properties. Some frameworks can be prepared with only organic components linked by covalent bonds, so- called covalent organic frameworks or COFs. The sensing performance can be further improved when the material is grown on a hydrophobic monolayer, whereby reducing the sensitivity to relative humidity. In this research, we aim to integrate these highly tailorable nanomaterials with chemical sensitive field-effect transistor (CS-FET) platform to achieve enhanced gas sensing characteristics.
Advisor Roya Maboudian, Carlo Carraro

 
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Physical Sensors & Devices
Project IDBPN894
Project Title Acoustically-Driven, Electrically-Controlled Microswimmer
Status Continuing
Funding Source Other
Keywords micromotor, electrolysis
Researchers Mauricio J. Bustamante
Abstract Underwater self-powered micro-swimmers have several biomedical and environmental applications, such as drug delivery and pathogen elimination in water. Therefore, there is a need for propulsion mechanisms that operate well in the low Reynolds number regimen. We propose a mechanism that uses resonating water-air interfaces to generate underwater propulsion, and electrolysis as a control mechanism. This way, an external field can be used as a power source while control occurs at the device level. It is known that, when actuated by ultrasound waves near its resonance frequency, a bubble interface generates a net streaming flow. Although this mechanism has been used for micro-swimmers in the 10s of microns, a truly controllable device has not yet been achieved. We propose electrical control of such phenomenon through electrolysis (bubble creation and catalysis) and AC electrowetting-on-dielectric (EWOD). Current efforts focus on demonstrating selective activation of propeller sites and developing a low voltage EWOD process.
Advisor Michel M. Maharbiz

 
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NanoTechnology: Materials, Processes & Devices
Project IDBPN914
Project Title Low-Power Microheater Platform-Based Gas Sensor
Status Continuing
Funding Source Industry Sponsored Research
Keywords Low power, microheater, gas sensor, 3d aerogels, template-assited porous metal oxides
Researchers Yong Xia, Steven DelaCruz, Sikai Zhao
Abstract There is a strong need to detect gaseous species and their concentrations for chemical process control, environmental monitoring, food and beverage quality assessment, and clinical diagnosis. One of the most promising sensing methods relies on the change in the resistance of the sensing material (e.g., metal oxide semiconductors) in response to target gases. This method is fast, sensitive, low-cost, and easy to operate. However, to activate surface reactions and promote gas desorption, and to regenerate the sensor, heating is usually required. Existing such sensors have a large power consumption (100’s of mW) that inhibit their application in portable or remote gas sensing. Miniaturization of these sensors through the use of microfabricated heaters is an effective way of improving the power and size requirements. Advances in novel high surface area nano-materials used with these low power platforms open up new exciting possibilities for low-power gas sensing. By shrinking the heated area and reducing the heat loss via back-etching to form a self-supporting heating/sensing layer, we have developed (poly-Si and SiC) microheater platforms that consume only ~15 mW to reach 500 °C. To address sensitivity problems caused by a limited sensing area, we are exploring the potential of 3D aerogels and template-assisted highly porous metal oxides that possess high surface area per device footprint. Of particular interest are aerogels based on 2D materials such as graphene, transition metal dichalcogenides, diborides, and MOF-derived metal oxide core-shell heterostructures. This project seeks to integrate these nanomaterials with the microheater platform and investigate their gas sensing characteristics towards low-power, sensitive and selective gas detection.
Advisor Roya Maboudian, Carlo Carraro

 
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Physical Sensors & Devices
Project IDBPN922
Project Title Analog Optical Voltage Sensor
Status Continuing
Funding Source
Keywords neural interface, fabrication, optics
Researchers Jordan L. Edmunds
Abstract Distributed sensors are becoming ubiquitous in manufacturing, automotive, and consumer applications. One extremely common need at the core of many of these sensors is the requirement to sense small voltages (uV-mV scale), amplify, digitize, and then communicate those bits so they can be acted on. We are taking a different approach - by utilizing nonlinear optical materials, we plan to transduce these signals directly into reflected light, removing the need for complex and high-cost sensor-side circuitry. Since the mechanism is purely passive and does not require a continuous power supply, these sensors have the potential to be extremely robust where line-of-sight optical communication is a possibility.
Advisor Michel M. Maharbiz

 
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NanoTechnology: Materials, Processes & Devices
Project IDBPN925
Project Title Perfectly Bright Low Dimensional Semiconductors
Status New
Funding Source Federal
Keywords
Researchers Shiekh Zia Uddin, Der Hsien Lien
Abstract The unique optical properties of low dimensional semiconductors make them a very attractive candidate for futuristic power efficient and tunable optoelectronic devices. Understanding the photophysics of these materials is the first key step in developing controllable device applications. The goal of this project is to develop comprehensive understanding of their optical physics and find electrical and chemical strategies to brighten them by using this knowledge. For two-dimensional monolayer semiconductors, we found that the photoluminescence quantum yield can reach near-unity when the monolayer is intrinsic. We are extending this finding on other low- dimensional excitonic systems such as nanotubes and quantum dots.
Advisor Ali Javey

 
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Wireless, RF & Smart Dust
Project IDBPN926
Project Title Wireless Implantable Fluorescence Imager for Microscopic Residual Tumor in Breast Cancer
Status New
Funding Source Federal
Keywords
Researchers Rozhan Rabbani, Rebekah Zhao
Abstract Modern cancer treatment faces the pervasive challenge of identifying microscopic cancer foci in vivo to eliminate the risk of cancer recurrence due to the presence of the tumor cells left in the body after the surgery known as microscopic residual disease (MRD). Untreated MRD doubles the local recurrence of cancer limiting the survival rate of cancer surgeries. MRD can be overcome either by doing a more extensive resection on the patients at the cost of removing healthy tissue or by treating them with postoperative radiation therapy resulting in short and long term side effects. Modern biomarkers provide robust fluorescence images from the targets inside the body, nevertheless, they rely on bulky optical devices to operate. Consequently, an implantable fluorescence imager sensor that can both image small cavities of tumor cells intraoperatively and examine the tumor bed postoperatively to visualize any recurrence of tumor cells is critically needed. Moreover, a miniaturized laser diode is essential to illuminate the tumor bed to propose a fully implantable system than can operate inside the patients body. This project leverages silicon’s optical features to operate at NIR wavelengths together with high transfer power density of ultrasound waves inside tissue to introduce an implantable imager that can provide a precise assessment of microscopic tumor residuals while operating standalone inside the body. As a result, we can provide surgeons with real-time information on the existence of any residual tumor cells in the patient in any possible stage during cancer treatment process, from early examination and detection to the operating room and postoperative monitor.
Advisor Bernhard E. Boser, Mekhail Anwar

 
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Wireless, RF & Smart Dust
Project IDBPN930
Project Title Robust MEMS Gripper
Status Continuing
Funding Source Federal
Keywords MEMS, microrobot
Researchers Daniel Teal, Hani Gomez, Dillon Acker-James, Alex Moreno Belmares
Abstract We are developing a robust, high-force, low-power MEMS gripper for microrobots. To date, we have created a 1.4x0.9x0.06cm gripper with 3mm displacement, 15mN force, and 0.3mW active power draw while moving (100nW quiescent) at 1mm/s; it can grab and release assorted ~1g objects. We have recently increased robustness by bonding multiple substrate-etched SOI chips, and are integrating high density interconnects to die packages---such as our Single Chip MicroMote (SCuM) or a solar cell array---by using the same SOI device layers as a silicon PCB, creating a complete autonomous microrobotic system.
Advisor Kristofer S.J. Pister

 
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NanoTechnology: Materials, Processes & Devices
Project IDBPN940
Project Title Self-healing Materials for Sensing, Energy Storage and Harvesting Applications
Status Continuing
Funding Source Member Fees
Keywords
Researchers Yu Long, Peisheng He, Yande Peng
Abstract Animal skins often possess both functions of sensing and actuating to detect external stimulations and change shapes when needed, respectively.  Furthermore, many animals, such as jellyfish and leptocephalus (eel larvae) have tissues that are transparent and ultra-stretchable, which are difficult to build in synthetic sensors and actuators.  Moreover, all these living skins have self- healing properties, i.e.  to restore their critical functions after being damaged. On the contrary, artificial electronic systems are often brittle and non-transparent.  As such, biomimetic, skin- like materials have been widely investigated in recent years for potential applications in wearable systems. In the emerging field of flexible and stretchable electronic devices, unexpected mechanical damage is a main cause for device failures. One approach to address this mechanical failure issue is to learn and emulate living things in nature – such as the skin of jellyfish for the self-healing property to extend the service life of electronics. Here in this project we have designed and synthesized a biomimetic self-healing and ion-conducting hydrogel for applications in supercapacitors, strain sensors and actuators. Compared to the state-of-art, our current material has the following features: (1) high transparency with ~85% transmittance within the visible light range; (2) ultra-stretchable without failure under more than 1100% applied strain; (3) excellent self- healing capability with broken pieces fully amended visually in 24 hours; (4) highly adhesive for self-bonding. Applications of healable supercapacitors, strain sensing and mechanical actuator were shown, demonstrating potential for various applications. In the future, we would like to (1) improve the performance of self-healing materials or develop other self-healing materials which are suitable for other application situations; (2) realize the application of self-healing materials in other energy harvesting and storage areas, such as Li-ion batteries and thermoelectric harvesters and so on; (3) realize the application in other sensing areas, such as electro-chemical sensors; (4) explore the application possibilities in other electronic areas, like electrochemical transistors.
Advisor Liwei Lin

 
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Wireless, RF & Smart Dust
Project IDBPN953 New Project
Project Title Long-Term Drift of MEMS-Based Oscillators
Status New
Funding Source Other
Keywords
Researchers Sherwin A. Afshar
Abstract This project seeks to characterize and de-mystify mechanisms behind long-term drift in MEMS-based oscillators, including ones employing various sustaining amplifiers and referenced to resonators constructed in a variety of materials, including silicon, polysilicon, AlN, diamond, and ruthenium. A measurement apparatus that suppresses unwanted sources of drift, e.g., temperature, to better focus on resonator and oscillator long-term drift will be instrumental to success and will likely entail the use of double or triple ovens, as well as environment resistant circuit design.
Advisor Clark T.-C. Nguyen

 
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NanoPlasmonics, Microphotonics & Imaging
Project IDBPN957 New Project
Project Title MEMS Switch based Integrated FTIR
Status New
Funding Source Federal
Keywords
Researchers Jianheng Luo, Kyungmok Kwon, Johannes Henriksson
Abstract This project aims to develop integrated FTIR technology for material detection using MEMS-based photonic switch as building block. This implementation of integrated FTIR promises high resolution (1cm^-1) on small chip size ( 5mm x 5mm).
Advisor Ming C. Wu

 
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Physical Sensors & Devices
Project IDBPN959 New Project
Project Title Self-Righting for Micro Robots
Status New
Funding Source Member Fees
Keywords
Researchers Alexander Alvara, Hani Gomez.
Abstract In developing micro-robots for exploration in non-uniform terrain, it is often the case that robots fall over. This work seeks to provide a solution in the self-righting of autonomous micro- robots to overturn a 1cc, 1 gram cube microrobot with regular octahedral symmetry that has fallen on either of its four sides and overturning said microrobot once upside down. Our design currently consists of a 3-bar linkage in conjunction with an electrostatic inchworm motor. First-generation devices are in fab as of August. Hand analysis indicates that self-righting from any face should be possible within a few seconds.
Advisor Kristofer S.J. Pister

 
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Physical Sensors & Devices
Project IDBPN608
Project Title FM Gyroscope
Status Continuing
Funding Source Member Fees
Keywords gyroscope, fm gyroscope, scale factor, bias stability, calibration
Researchers Burak Eminoglu
Abstract MEMS gyroscopes for consumer devices, such as smartphones and tablets, suffer from high power consumption and drift which precludes their use in inertial navigation applications. Conventional MEMS gyroscopes detect Coriolis force through measurement of very small displacements on a sense axis, which requires low-noise, and consequently high-power, electronics. The sensitivity of the gyroscope is improved through mode-matching, but this introduces many other problems, such as low bandwidth and unreliable scale factor. Additionally, the conventional Coriolis force detection method is very sensitive to asymmetries in the mechanical transducer because the rate signal is derived from only the sense axis. Parasitic coupling between the drive and sense axis introduces unwanted bias errors which could be rejected by a perfectly symmetric readout scheme. This project develops frequency modulated (FM) gyroscopes that overcome the above limitations. FM gyroscopes also promise to improve the power dissipation and drift of MEMS gyroscopes. We present results from a prototype FM gyroscope with integrated CMOS readout electronics demonstrating the principle.
Advisor Bernhard E. Boser

 
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NanoTechnology: Materials, Processes & Devices
Project IDBPN704
Project Title Vapor-Liquid-Solid Growth of Polycrystalline Indium Phosphide Thin Films on Metal
Status Continuing
Funding Source Federal
Keywords Solar Cells, Photovoltaics, Indium Phosphide, InP, VLS, Thin Film
Researchers Wenbo Ji
Abstract Here, we develop a technique that enables direct growth of III-V materials on non-epitaxial substrates. Here, by utilizing a planar liquid phase template, we extend the VLS growth mode to enable polycrystalline indium phosphide (InP) thin film growth on Mo foils.
Advisor Ali Javey

 
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Wireless, RF & Smart Dust
Project IDBPN814
Project Title UHF Capacitive-Gap Transduced Resonators With High Cx/Co
Status Continuing
Funding Source Other
Keywords
Researchers Kieran Peleaux
Abstract The project explores methods by which the Cx/Co of UHF capacitive- gap transduced resonators might be increased to above 5% while maintaining Qs 10,000.
Advisor Clark T.-C. Nguyen

 
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Wireless, RF & Smart Dust
Project IDBPN848
Project Title Wireless Neural Sensors: Robust Ultrasonic Backscatter Communication in the Brain
Status Continuing
Funding Source Other
Keywords ultrasound, low-power, wearable, biosensing, neural dust
Researchers David Piech
Abstract Brain-machine interfaces provide an artificial conduit to send information to and from the brain, and modulate activity in the brain. These systems have shown great promise in clinical, scientific, and human-computer interaction contexts, but the low reward/risk ratio of today’s invasive neural interfaces has limited their use to an extremely niche clinical patient population. It has been shown that ultrasonic backscatter communication can enable the sensing and stimulation of neural activity with extremely small wireless implants, which can both improve performance and reduce risk. This project will develop a neural interface system which extends this technique to wirelessly communicate with multiple sensors in the brain.
Advisor Michel M. Maharbiz

 
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Physical Sensors & Devices
Project IDBPN857
Project Title Miniature Autonomous Rockets
Status Continuing
Funding Source Member Fees
Keywords MEMS, Inchworm Motors, MAVs
Researchers Alexander Alvara
Abstract Pico air vehicles (PAVs), sub-5cm aerial vehicles, are becoming more feasible due to advances in wireless mesh networks, millimeter-scale propulsion, battery technology, and MEMS control surfaces. Our goal is to develop an aerodynamic MEMS control surface that could be used in PAV applications. This device will use electrostatic inchworm motors (capable of outputting 15mN) to extend an airfoil through 10 degrees. Using information from previous work that demonstrated roll control, we expect to extend automated flight control to pitch and yaw. We predict and output torque of 2.3 uNm, generated by the actuator. In order to determine the aerodynamic performance of the device, we will integrate the control surface into a force-sensing platform and operate the device in 23 m/s of airflow. The actuated control surface is expected to generate between 0 and 20 mN of aerodynamic lift. In order to power this actuator on an untethered PAV, we designed a compact, LiPo battery- powered 90 V power supply PCB that fits in a 3.8 cm x 1.5 cm footprint. We also designed a 20-cm long rocket with onboard power, inertial guidance, and feedback control that we will use as a test platform for the MEMS control surfaces. Our long-term goal is to integrate the MEMS control surface, power supply PCB, and a single chip micromote into an autonomous millimeter-scale rocket for highly maneuverable short-range automated flight control.
Advisor Kristofer S.J. Pister

 
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NanoTechnology: Materials, Processes & Devices
Project IDBPN867
Project Title Fully Integrated CMOS-Metal MEMS Systems
Status Continuing
Funding Source Other
Keywords RF MEMS, UHF, filters, CMOS, integration
Researchers Qianyi Xie, Kieran A. Peleaux, Qiutong Jin
Abstract As RF MEMS technology evolves to shift towards UHF frequencies, the parasitics inherent in hybrid fabrication approaches become the performance bottleneck. This project aims to integrate metal MEMS resonators directly over CMOS circuitry to achieve fully integrated MEMS systems. Pursuant to this goal, this project proposes several designs for UHF MEMS bandpass filters, exploring how different CMOS-compatible metals can yield performance metrics—such as quality- factor (Q), temperature stability and frequency drift—that are comparable to those of standard polysilicon MEMS resonators.
Advisor Clark T.-C. Nguyen

 
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Physical Sensors & Devices
Project IDBPN873
Project Title Small Autonomous Robot Actuator (SARA)
Status Continuing
Funding Source Member Fees
Keywords MEMS, neural engineering, carbon fiber, electrode, robot, autonomous microsystem
Researchers Alex Moreno, Austin Patel, Alexander Alvara, Daniel Teal, Andrew Fearing
Abstract The Small Autonomous Robot Actuator (SARA) aims to integrate the Single Chip micro Mote (SCuM), a small millimeter scale solar panel and high voltage buffer (Zappy2), and a MEMS 40-100V inchworm motor that has been demonstrated to push a 7um diameter carbon filament through an adjustable width channel at speeds of 10um/s to 200um/s. SARA has been demonstrated to operate the inchworm motor at 1 Hz with 100V square waves under 200mW/cm2 on separate PCBs and transmit 802.15.4 packets with temperature estimates between 35.5-40 C with a 0.28 std error from SCuM to an OpenMote while on a quarter-scale PCB. The next steps are wirelessly controlling the MEMS motors with 100V signals from Zappy2 while under 200mW/cm2 -and on the quarter-scale PCB, precise control through contact sensor feedback and expanding the range of diameters possible to manipulate. We have designed MEMS motors capable of manipulating variable gauge filaments with the expressed intention of developing a microrobot able to assemble variable gauge filaments and wires from multiple non-ideal configurations, including bi-directional assembly and maneuvering. Additionally, we have designed MEMS motors with impact resistance in mind and that can withstand backlash that is present in many dynamic configurations. Future applications include an array of individually addressable neural electrode implanters, a microrobotic spider, a wound or fabric stitching microrobot, and plug-and-play linear servos for paper robots.
Advisor Kristofer S.J. Pister

 
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Physical Sensors & Devices
Project IDBPN877
Project Title Pulse Acquisition and Diagnosis for Health Monitoring
Status Continuing
Funding Source Other
Keywords Health Monitoring, Medical Assessments, Piezoelectret Materials, Pulse Sensors, Wearable Systems
Researchers Ruiqi Guo, Wenying Qiu, Dongkai Wang
Abstract Traditional Chinese medicine(TCM) has existed for more than two thousand years and one of the important diagnostic methods is the pulse diagnosis. It generally takes decades of training for a practitioner to master this skill as pulse acquisition and diagnosis require long-term experiences and are very subjective. The project aims to use the combination of advanced sensor technology and artificial intelligence to emulate the TCM practice for health monitoring. A flexible piezoelectric film is designed to record the wrist pulse data. A group of representative pulse features has been extracted from the volunteer data and fitted into a machine learning algorithm. The trained machine learning model has been proved to be effective in telling different health conditions of volunteers.
Advisor Liwei Lin

 
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BioMEMS
Project IDBPN890
Project Title Hydrogel Actuated Neural Probe
Status Continuing
Funding Source Other
Keywords neural probe, electrolysis, glial scarring
Researchers Oliver Chen
Abstract Glial scarring and passivization of long-term implanted neural probes is one bottleneck in brain- machine interface technology. However, ultraflexible probes with similar mechanical properties as tissue have been shown to minimize scarring and other biological responses. We propose a flexible, microscale neural probe that can be actuated using an expanding hydrogel. This device is designed to be able to record neural signals up to hundreds of microns away from the insertion site. This design can allow for high-density, accurate neural recordings for a wide variety of clinical applications and research thrusts
Advisor Michel M. Maharbiz

 
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Physical Sensors & Devices
Project IDBPN915
Project Title Control of Microrobots with Reinforcement Learning
Status Continuing
Funding Source Member Fees
Keywords Robotics, Microrobotics, Reinforcement Learning, Control
Researchers Nathan Lambert; Howard Zhang
Abstract Generating low-level robot controllers often requires manual parameters tuning and significant system knowledge, which can result in long design times for highly specialized controllers. Moreover, with micro-robots the dynamics change on each design iteration and there is little experimental time to tune controllers. To address the problem of rapidly generating low- level controllers without domain knowledge, we propose using model-based reinforcement learning (MBRL) trained on few minutes of automatically generated data. Initial results showed the capabilities of MBRL on a Crazyflie quadrotor to achieve stable hovering of over 6 seconds on less than 5 minutes of training data, using only on-board sensors, direct motor input signals, and no initial dynamics knowledge. The goal is to apply the most data efficient and stable methods to microrobots (hexapod, ionocraft, jumper) to accomplish simple tasks such as walking and flying in as little as minutes of wall time. The general nature of the model-based RL approach opens up the question: with a trained dynamics model on finite, experimental data, what is the best way to generate a control policy. For all methods presented, the foundation is a forward dynamics model predicting the next state given the current state and action. We explore a variety of methods to generate a control policy: including pairing the dynamics model with a model predictive controller (MPC), a neural network policy imitating the MPC, deterministic particle based policy gradients, and zeroth order optimizers such as traditional policy gradient algorithms estimating return.
Advisor Kristofer S.J. Pister

 
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Physical Sensors & Devices
Project IDBPN920
Project Title Sweat Rate Sensors with High-Throughput Fabrication
Status Continuing
Funding Source Federal
Keywords wearable sweat sensor, microfluidics, roll to roll processing, decoding sweat, sweat rate detection, dehydration monitoring, sweat glucose correlation study
Researchers Mallika Bariya, Hnin Y.Y. Nyein
Abstract While recent sweat analysis has overwhelmingly focused on measuring biomarker concentrations, one of the most physiologically informative parameters is actually sweat secretion rate. Sweat rate is important to track as it modulates the concentrations of secreted analytes, but even stand-alone it can indicate evolving or unfavorable health conditions including cardiac complications, nerve damage, and dehydration. Precise and continuous sweat sensors are therefore an important component of wearable sweat sensing technology.
Various sensing schemes and form factors can be used for sweat rate measurement. One model involves capturing sweat in a spiraling microfluidic channel that contains two parallel impedimetric electrodes. As sweat flows in the channel and increasingly covers and connects the two electrodes, the impedance between them drops at a rate that can be related to sweat rate. Another model has narrow metal fingers, or gates, that alternately protrude from each electrode. As sweat flows past each finger, the electrodes register a discrete jump in impedance. The rate of these jumps can be converted into a discrete but highly selective measure of sweat rate. Along with different sensing schemes, different device form factors and methods of attachment onto the body can ensure that sweat is collected fully, without loss or leakage, to ensure accurate sweat rate measurement. Flexible electrode and microfluidic layers can be stacked and attached to the skin surface as patches using aggressive and water-resistance medical adhesives. Alternately, they can be affixed to a rigid gasket that straps onto the forearm like a wristwatch. This gasket is shaped with a concave underside that collects and forces sweat up into the entrance of the microchannel, and the rigid seal against the body surface ensures no sweat escapes. The different fluidic pattern considerations must overall ensure that sweat rate can be measured accurately for prolonged on-body wear over a broad range of secretion rates.
Roll-to-roll (R2R) fabrication processes are key for producing sweat rate sensors at high throughputs and volumes. This includes R2R printing of metallic inks for the electrodes, combined with R2R laser cutting to pattern microfluidic layers and spacers. Rigid gaskets can also be produced at scale through injection molding, and all components then rapidly assembled with adhesive tapes. Overall, we present mass produced sweat rate sensors with different sensing schemes and form factors to accommodate diverse wearable sweat sensing applications.
Advisor Ali Javey

 
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NanoTechnology: Materials, Processes & Devices
Project IDBPN931
Project Title Multiplexed Electroluminescent Device for Emission from Infrared to Ultraviolet Wavelength
Status New
Funding Source Federal
Keywords
Researchers Yingbo Zhao, Vivian Wang, Der-Hsien Lien
Abstract Using electroluminescence as a metrology method could have many advantages for on-chip chemical composition characterization, where the need for an on-chip light source can be eliminated and materials with different excitation wavelength can be characterized by the same device. In this project, we aim for achieving a multiplexed electroluminescent device that can give electroluminescence, from infrared to ultraviolet wavelength, right after deposition of the emitting material and without the need for further device modifications. We also aim to use electroluminescence spectroscopy to probe chemical reaction kinetics and dynamics.
Advisor Ali Javey

 
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NanoPlasmonics, Microphotonics & Imaging
Project IDBPN933
Project Title Ordered Ag@MOF Core-shell Nanostructures for SERS-based Chemical Analysis
Status Continuing
Funding Source Other
Keywords Silver nanostructure, MOF, Raman enhancement
Researchers Aifei Pan, Yong Xia, Adrian K. Davey
Abstract A large number of poisonous chemicals, such as PFOA, PFOS, and mercury ions, are mandated to be controlled in drinking water with their permissible concentrations below parts-per-billion (ppb). In this context, pre-concentration is a necessary step preceding detection. Apart from their selective absorption ability, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) have an extraordinarily large internal surface area, which can be used for extraction. In terms of detection methods, Raman spectroscopy is a powerful non-invasive chemical detection technology characterized by portability, accuracy, and speed. In addition, concentrations in the ppb range and below can be detected with surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS). As a result, a combination of the SERS and extraction method may allow the detectable concentration limit in the parts-per-trillion (ppt) range. This research is devoted to the design and optimization of Ag@MOF core-shell nanostructures for detection of chemicals in ppt level. Lyophobic ZIF-8 serves as the extractor of the chemical of interest and Ag as the plasmonic particles for SERS. Additionally, to obtain the lowest detectable concentration limits and good selectivity towards metal ions, post-processed MOFs (e.g., MIL-53- NH2, MOF-808 with EDTA and dithizone) will be examined. This project seeks for optimum structural design and controllable arrangement of Ag@MOF nanostructures towards low-cost, sensitive and rapid SRES-based chemical detection in solution.
Advisor Roya Maboudian, Carlo Carraro

 
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NanoTechnology: Materials, Processes & Devices
Project IDBPN947
Project Title Black Phosphorus Based Infrared Light Emitting Diodes
Status New
Funding Source Federal
Keywords
Researchers Hyungjin Kim, Niharika Gupta
Abstract
Advisor Ali Javey

 
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NanoTechnology: Materials, Processes & Devices
Project IDBPN948
Project Title Wireless Tactile Stimulation with MEMS Inchworm Motors
Status Continuing
Funding Source Member Fees
Keywords
Researchers Dillon G. Acker-James, Hani Gomez, Sarah Sterman
Abstract The goal of this project is to make an untethered MEMS tactile stimulator. Electrostatic inchworm motors made in SOI substrates routinely generate 1-15 mN of force and 2 mm/s travel, making them a viable option for a millimeter-scale wireless tactile stimulator. Collaborating with Professor Eric Paulos and his students, our first step is to conduct haptic sensation surveys in order to understand what a user feels based on different forces. Our current chips provide a force range of 1mN up to 15mN, but we plan to increase this in the future. Our next step would be to integrate the MEMS taction pokers with a solar-powered high- voltage buffer (Zappy) and a Single Chip micro Mote (SCuM) to provide power and a processor, respectively. Once those three devices are fully integrated, and there is an understanding of the what the user feels based on the motors force, an array of wearables could be used to create a more complex haptic sensations used as medical tools, notification systems, and creating a more immersive VR experience.
Advisor Kristofer S.J. Pister, Eric Paulos

 
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Physical Sensors & Devices
Project IDBPN949
Project Title Optoelectronic Reservoir Computing
Status Continuing
Funding Source Federal
Keywords Reservoir Computing, AI, Optoelectronics
Researchers Philip L. Jacobson, Dr. Mizuki Shirao
Abstract As the demand for faster, more efficient training of neural networks continues to grow, specialized photonic hardware has emerged as a potential alternative to classical computers for AI applications. Reservoir Computing (RC), a lightweight alternative to computationally-intensive Recurrent Neural Networks, has been demonstrated to be possible using simple delay dynamical systems. We propose an optoelectronic implementation of this architecture through a Mach-Zehnder modulator driven by delayed feedback from a laser. We introduce a new optoelectronic scheme in which input data is first pre-processed offline using two convolutional neural network layers with randomly initialized weights, generating a series of random feature maps. These random feature maps are then multiplied by a random mask matrix to generate input nodes, which are then passed to the reservoir computer. Such a scheme has achieved simulation results in-line with the state of the art for image recognition tasks, with a potential 10x increase in processing speed.
Advisor Ming C. Wu

 
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NanoTechnology: Materials, Processes & Devices
Project IDBPN955 New Project
Project Title Nanostructured Colorimetric Biosensor
Status New
Funding Source Other
Keywords Biosensor, NanoPlasmonic, LSPR, SARS-CoV-2
Researchers Kamyar Behrouzi, Neil Ramirez
Abstract In this project, we are developing at-home colorimetric biosensor that enables people to test for specific biomarkers simply at their home. By harnessing nanoplasmonic effects in metallic nanoparticle, we aim to present highly sensitive, rapid, simple and inexpensive diagnostic method which can detect tiny number of biomarkers and antigens in real human sample. We hope to develop our method specifically for SARS-CoV-2, to provide people around world with a simple and accurate biosensor which can help governments to reopen businesses and people coming back to their normal life with this efficient screening method.
Advisor Liwei Lin

 
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Physical Sensors & Devices
Project IDBPN958 New Project
Project Title Printed Miniaturized Li-ion Batteries for Autonomous Microsystems
Status New
Funding Source Other
Keywords
Researchers Anju Toor
Abstract Despite the popularity and widespread demand for miniaturized electronic devices, limited advances have been made to design energy storage mechanisms that can satisfy their power and size requirements. We have developed a fabrication process to produce miniature Li-ion batteries by combining the stencil printing process to deposit thick high capacity electrodes and an adhesive based sealing method for battery packaging, with active areas as small as 1 mm2. The battery consists of printed anode and cathode layers based on graphite and lithium cobalt oxide (LCO) respectively. These batteries have roughly 8 times the areal capacity of commercial micro-batteries, and demonstrate a significantly higher discharge capacity (6.4 mAh/cm2) and energy density (23.6 mWh/cm2) than previously reported thin-film and thick-film, and 3D micro-batteries. Further, the larger batteries (area: 25 mm2) possess sufficient capacity to support the power requirements of SCµM-3C, a wireless sensor node on-chip.
Advisor Kristofer S.J. Pister; Ana C. Arias