Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Tiny 'MEMS' devices to filter, amplify electronic signals

Researchers are developing a new class of tiny mechanical devices containing vibrating, hair-thin structures that could be used to filter electronic signals in cell phones and for other more exotic applications. The work is done inside a vacuum chamber sitting on top of a special vibration-absorbing platform critical to making the precise measurements. A tiny prototype, roughly comparable in size to a grain of sand, is pictured on the monitor at right. The device is an example of a microelectromechanical system, or a MEMS, which contains tiny moving parts. (Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University)
Researchers are developing a new class of tiny mechanical devices containing vibrating, hair-thin structures that could be used to filter electronic signals in cell phones and for other more exotic applications. The work is done inside a vacuum chamber sitting on top of a special vibration-absorbing platform critical to making the precise measurements. A tiny prototype, roughly comparable in size to a grain of sand, is pictured on the monitor at right. The device is an example of a microelectromechanical system, or a MEMS, which contains tiny moving parts. (Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University)

Abstract:
Resonant microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) offer distinct utility in signal processing and wireless communications applications due to their comparatively high quality factors, low power consumption, and ease of integration with existing integrated circuit (IC) technologies. While a number of efforts have previously demonstrated the use of mechanically coupled microresonators in band-pass signal filtering applications, the vast majority of these works have emphasized the use of resonator chains coupled in an open configuration, wherein the terminating (end) elements in the array are coupled to only a single resonator and the interior resonators are coupled solely to their nearest neighbors. While this configuration suffices for many MEMS-based filter designs, it is not guaranteed to be an optimal coupling architecture. The present work explores an alternative class of MEMS band-pass filters based on cyclically coupled, closed-chain resonator configurations and specifically examines the pertinent performance metrics (effective quality factor, shape factor, bandwidth, ripple and maximum transmission) associated with each architecture. By varying coupling strength and the quality factor of individual resonators over wide, yet realistic, parameter ranges, regions of superior performance for both open- and closed-chain filter architectures have been observed. Of particular interest here is the fact that preliminary results indicate that cyclically coupled resonator configurations exhibit improved ripple metrics, reduced frequency dependence within the passband, and, generally speaking, more robustness to process-induced variations than their open-chain counterparts. As such, cyclically coupled filter designs, with further refinement, may ultimately lead to an improved MEMS band-pass filter capability.

Tiny 'MEMS' devices to filter, amplify electronic signals

West Lafayette, IN | Posted on August 10th, 2009

Researchers are developing a new class of tiny mechanical devices containing vibrating, hair-thin structures that could be used to filter electronic signals in cell phones and for other more exotic applications.

Because the devices, called resonators, vibrate in specific patterns, they are able to cancel out signals having certain frequencies and allow others to pass. The result is a new type of "band-pass" filter, a component commonly used in electronics to permit some signals to pass through a cell phone's circuitry while blocking others, said Jeffrey Rhoads, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University.

Such filters are critical for cell phones and other portable electronics because they allow devices to process signals with minimal interference and maximum transmission efficiency. The new technology represents a potential way to further miniaturize band-pass filters while improving their performance and reducing power use, Rhoads said.

The device is an example of a microelectromechanical system, or a MEMS, which contain tiny moving parts. Incoming signals generate voltage that produces an electrostatic force, causing the MEMS filters to vibrate.

Researchers have proposed linking tiny beams in straight chains, but Rhoads has pursued a different approach, arranging the structures in rings and other shapes, or "non-traditional coupling arrangements." One prototype, which resembles spokes attached to a wheel's hub, is about 160 microns in diameter, or comparable in size to a grain of sand.

Findings are detailed in a research paper to be presented on Sept. 2 during a meeting of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers' Third International Conference on Micro and Nano Systems. The conference runs from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2 in San Diego. The paper was written by Rhoads and mechanical engineering graduate student Venkata Bharadwaj Chivukula.

In addition to their use as future cell phone filters, such resonators also could be used for advanced chemical and biological sensors in medical and homeland-defense applications and possibly for a new type of "mechanical memory element" that harnesses vibration patterns to store information.

"The potential computer-memory application is the most long term and challenging," Rhoads said. "We are talking about the possibility of creating complex behaviors out of relatively simple substructures, similar to how in cellular biology you can have a relatively complex behavior by combining hundreds or thousands of simple cells."

The band-pass filter design promises higher performance than previous MEMS technology because it more sharply defines which frequencies can pass and which are rejected. The new design also might be more robust than the traditional linear arrangement, meaning devices could contain manufacturing flaws and still perform well.

The devices are made of silicon and are manufactured using a "silicon-on-insulator" procedure commonly used in the electronics industry to make computer chips and electronic circuits. The small, vibrating mechanical structures contain beams about 10 microns in diameter, which is roughly one-tenth the width of a human hair. The beams can be connected mechanically, like tiny springs, or they can be linked using electric fields and magnetic attractions.

"We are in the process of making a second prototype," said Rhoads, who has used simulations and also conducted experiments with the devices to demonstrate that the concept works.

The devices are being fabricated at the Birck Nanotechnology Center in Purdue's Discovery Park through a collaboration with Dimitrios Peroulis, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.

The research is based at a new Dynamic Analysis of Micro/Nanosystems Laboratory at Birck. The lab, managed by Rhoads and mechanical engineering professor Arvind Raman, is equipped with an instrument called a scanning laser Doppler vibrometer, which uses a laser to measure the minute movement of the tiniest structures. The system is housed inside a vacuum chamber sitting on top of a special vibration-absorbing platform critical to making the precise measurements.

Other faculty members and graduate students also use the specialized facility.

The research is funded by the National Science Foundation through an NSF Faculty Early Career Development grant, awarded to outstanding young researchers. So far four Purdue researchers have received the grants this year. The research includes educational components using Purdue's nanoHUB - the Web portal of the Network for Computational Nanotechnology, also NSF-funded and based at Purdue - as well as Purdue's Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program.

Rhoads will develop and deploy on the nanoHUB a software tool to simulate the behavior of the resonators, a new K-12 education curriculum on emerging microelectromechanical and nanoelectromechanical systems, and college-level course materials and lectures associated with a new course on the systems.

####

About Purdue University
In September 2007, Purdue President France A. Córdova appointed eight working groups that formed the vanguard in the creation of the University's next strategic plan. In June 2008, the new six-year strategic plan was approved by Purdue's Board of Trustees.


The plan will position the University to meet the challenges facing humanity, grow and create opportunities for Indiana and the global economy, and enhance student learning for success in a changing world.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Writer: Emil Venere, 765-494-4709,

Source: Jeffrey Rhoads, 765-494-5630,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Copyright © Purdue University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

Birck Nanotechnology Center

Related News Press

News and information

Freeze-dried foam soaks up carbon dioxide: Rice University scientists lead effort to make novel 3-D material August 16th, 2017

Gold shines through properties of nano biosensors: Researchers discover that fluorescence in ligand-protected gold nanoclusters is an intrinsic property of the gold particles themselves August 16th, 2017

Two Scientists Receive Grants to Develop New Materials: Chad Mirkin and Monica Olvera de la Cruz recognized by Sherman Fairchild Foundation August 16th, 2017

Scientists from the University of Manchester and Diamond Light Source work with Deben to develop and test a new compression stage to study irradiated graphite at elevated temperatures August 15th, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Freeze-dried foam soaks up carbon dioxide: Rice University scientists lead effort to make novel 3-D material August 16th, 2017

2-faced 2-D material is a first at Rice: Rice University materials scientists create flat sandwich of sulfur, molybdenum and selenium August 14th, 2017

Engineers pioneer platinum shell formation process – and achieve first-ever observation August 11th, 2017

Moving at the Speed of Light: University of Arizona selected for high-impact, industrial demonstration of new integrated photonic cryogenic datalink for focal plane arrays: Program is major milestone for AIM Photonics August 10th, 2017

Possible Futures

Freeze-dried foam soaks up carbon dioxide: Rice University scientists lead effort to make novel 3-D material August 16th, 2017

Gold shines through properties of nano biosensors: Researchers discover that fluorescence in ligand-protected gold nanoclusters is an intrinsic property of the gold particles themselves August 16th, 2017

Two Scientists Receive Grants to Develop New Materials: Chad Mirkin and Monica Olvera de la Cruz recognized by Sherman Fairchild Foundation August 16th, 2017

Fewer defects from a 2-D approach August 15th, 2017

MEMS

First Capacitive Transducer with 13nm Gap July 27th, 2017

Bosch announces high-performance MEMS acceleration sensors for wearables June 27th, 2017

Smart multi-layered magnetic material acts as an electric switch: New study reveals characteristic of islands of magnetic metals between vacuum gaps, displaying tunnelling electric current March 1st, 2017

Engineers shrink microscope to dime-sized device February 17th, 2017

Memory Technology

Surprise discovery in the search for energy efficient information storage August 10th, 2017

Liquid electrolyte contacts for advanced characterization of resistive switching memories July 26th, 2017

Shining rings: A new material emits white light when exposed to electricity: New synthetic approach could spark development of other dynamic materials July 24th, 2017

Pulses of electrons manipulate nanomagnets and store information: Scientists use electron pulses to create and manipulate nanoscale magnetic excitations that can store data July 21st, 2017

Announcements

Freeze-dried foam soaks up carbon dioxide: Rice University scientists lead effort to make novel 3-D material August 16th, 2017

Gold shines through properties of nano biosensors: Researchers discover that fluorescence in ligand-protected gold nanoclusters is an intrinsic property of the gold particles themselves August 16th, 2017

Two Scientists Receive Grants to Develop New Materials: Chad Mirkin and Monica Olvera de la Cruz recognized by Sherman Fairchild Foundation August 16th, 2017

Scientists from the University of Manchester and Diamond Light Source work with Deben to develop and test a new compression stage to study irradiated graphite at elevated temperatures August 15th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project