Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > UCLA gets $5.5 million from Defense agency to create new rotating microscale motors

5-millimeter silicon rotary stage fabricated by UCLA engineers
5-millimeter silicon rotary stage fabricated by UCLA engineers

Abstract:
If you've ever used an iPhone, a Wii video game or an automobile airbag, you've benefited from micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) technology, in which arrays of tiny devices mounted on computer chips — many no larger than the width of a human hair — are able to sense and respond to changes in heat, light, motion, sound or other external stimuli.

By Wileen Wong Kromhout

UCLA gets $5.5 million from Defense agency to create new rotating microscale motors

Los Angeles, CA | Posted on May 18th, 2010

Now, the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science has been awarded $5.5 million from the U.S. Defense Department's central research and development agency to advance MEMS technology for use in defense systems.

The four-and-a-half-year grant from the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) will fund research by UCLA engineers to create electrically connected, rotating microscale motors for sensing and communications as part of the agency's Information Tethered Micro Automated Rotary Stages program.

The micromachining techniques used to fabricate microdevices have been highly successful in producing miniature systems and components — including sensors, actuators and electronics — that combine high performance with low weight and power consumption. And early MEMS work demonstrated multiple avenues for realizing micromotors that are able to rotate 360 degrees.

But even with the progress of MEMS technology, the use of rotating microdevices has not been as widespread as might be expected, according to DARPA, primarily because most applications have used structures fabricated into rotary stages without the availability of active electrical power, limiting the utility of the stages.

"Providing electric connections can be a little tricky, especially on continuous rotating platforms," said Chang-Jin "CJ" Kim, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at UCLA Engineering and principal investigator on the DARPA project. "You rarely see physically free objects electrically connected. You can't have electrical wires protruding from an object that rotates endlessly. So that's one of the challenges we are facing."

Providing electrical power on a stage while allowing full rotation and precise position control of these components would lead to microsystems with much higher performance and functionality.

The goal of the UCLA Engineering team is to demonstrate a MEMS-fabricated rotary stage that would enable free rotation coupled with electrical power and signal transfer. This would launch the implementation of sensing and device operations on a microstage with position-measuring accuracies that would most likely be better than those obtained by large, instrumented optical rotary stages.

Thus far, Kim's group has successfully created a rotary stage using liquid droplets as the mechanical element that serves as a bridge between two moving objects. The liquid droplets, formed into a series of rings, provide physical support as well as rotational lubrication to the stage and allow for multiple stable electrical connections.

"On the microscale, smaller than a millimeter, the surface tension of liquid droplets, in terms of strength, is stronger than the weight of the droplet," said Kim, who specializes in MEMS. "That's why a smaller water droplet beads more and spreads less than a larger droplet. It stays in the form of a sphere. The smaller it gets, the greater the effect of surface tension gets. With liquid bearings formed by free droplets, only because they are very small, there is no solid-to-solid contact and there is no wear."

Kim's rings are made of liquid metals or ionic liquid, which not only allows for higher power but also leads to more stable electrical contact.

The team's next step will be to use electric signals to rotate the stage. Thus far, the capability to precisely rotate micromachined structures in a controllable manner has not been achieved.

"The rotary stage will be electro-statically activated by high-voltages applied across electrodes placed beneath the stage, and the high voltages will be applied by a high-voltage driver circuit," said Ken Yang, a professor of electrical engineering at UCLA Engineering and a co-principal investigator responsible for the development of the electronic interface that controls the rotary stage.

"The position of the stage will roughly be determined by activating a proper set of electrodes," Yang said. "The capacitance between electrodes will be a measure of the precise position. The control electronics will determine the appropriate sequence of binary voltages driven to each electrode. This will determine how the stage moves, in what direction, and how fast. We intend for the controller to be fully incorporated on an integrated circuit, also located beneath the rotor."

Once the team shows proof of concept, they will concentrate on making the motorized rotary stage smaller, more accurate and more efficient.

Other members of the UCLA team include Eric Chiou, an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering; Sungtaek Ju, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering; Jason Woo, a professor of electrical engineering; and Chris Gudeman of Innovative Micro Technology (IMT), a company specializing in micromachines.

####

About UCLA
The UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, established in 1945, offers 28 academic and professional degree programs, including an interdepartmental graduate degree program in biomedical engineering. Ranked among the top 10 engineering schools at public universities nationwide, the school is home to eight multimillion-dollar interdisciplinary research centers in wireless sensor systems, nanotechnology, nanomanufacturing and nanoelectronics, all funded by federal and private agencies.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Media Contacts
Wileen Wong Kromhout,
(310) 206-0540

Copyright © UCLA

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 News Press

News and information

Oxford Instruments announces Dr Kate Ross as winner of the 2018 Lee Osheroff Richardson Science Prize for North and South America February 20th, 2018

Computers aid discovery of new, inexpensive material to make LEDs with high color quality February 20th, 2018

Unconventional superconductor may be used to create quantum computers of the future: They have probably succeeded in creating a topological superconductor February 19th, 2018

Photonic chip guides single photons, even when there are bends in the road February 16th, 2018

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Computers aid discovery of new, inexpensive material to make LEDs with high color quality February 20th, 2018

Arrowhead Receives Regulatory Clearance to Begin Phase 1/2 Study of ARO-HBV for Treatment of Hepatitis B February 15th, 2018

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Receives Orphan Drug Designation for ARO-AAT February 15th, 2018

Rutgers-Led Innovation Could Spur Faster, Cheaper, Nano-Based Manufacturing: Scalable and cost-effective manufacturing of thin film devices February 14th, 2018

Possible Futures

Computers aid discovery of new, inexpensive material to make LEDs with high color quality February 20th, 2018

Photonic chip guides single photons, even when there are bends in the road February 16th, 2018

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers February 15th, 2018

Rutgers-Led Innovation Could Spur Faster, Cheaper, Nano-Based Manufacturing: Scalable and cost-effective manufacturing of thin film devices February 14th, 2018

Academic/Education

Luleĺ University of Technology is using the Deben CT5000TEC stage to perform x-ray microtomography experiments with the ZEISS Xradia 510 Versa to understand deformation and strain inside inhomogeneous materials November 7th, 2017

Park Systems Announces the Grand Opening of the Park NanoScience Center at SUNY Polytechnic Institute November 3rd, 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

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

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

Sensors

Graphene on toast, anyone? Rice University scientists create patterned graphene onto food, paper, cloth, cardboard February 13th, 2018

Leti Chief Scientist Barbara De Salvo Will Help Kick Off ISSCC 2018 with Opening-Day Keynote: In Addition, Leti Scientists Will Present and Demo New Technology for Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting February 8th, 2018

Engineers develop flexible, water-repellent graphene circuits for washable electronics January 24th, 2018

Leti to Demo New Curving Technology at Photonics West that Improves Performance of Optical Components January 18th, 2018

Announcements

Oxford Instruments announces Dr Kate Ross as winner of the 2018 Lee Osheroff Richardson Science Prize for North and South America February 20th, 2018

Computers aid discovery of new, inexpensive material to make LEDs with high color quality February 20th, 2018

Unconventional superconductor may be used to create quantum computers of the future: They have probably succeeded in creating a topological superconductor February 19th, 2018

Photonic chip guides single photons, even when there are bends in the road February 16th, 2018

Military

Graphene on toast, anyone? Rice University scientists create patterned graphene onto food, paper, cloth, cardboard February 13th, 2018

Silk fibers could be high-tech ‘natural metamaterials’ January 31st, 2018

Researchers use sound waves to advance optical communication January 22nd, 2018

New Method Uses DNA, Nanoparticles and Top-Down Lithography to Make Optically Active Structures: Technique could lead to new classes of materials that can bend light, such as for those used in cloaking devices January 18th, 2018

Grants/Sponsored Research/Awards/Scholarships/Gifts/Contests/Honors/Records

Oxford Instruments announces Dr Kate Ross as winner of the 2018 Lee Osheroff Richardson Science Prize for North and South America February 20th, 2018

Computers aid discovery of new, inexpensive material to make LEDs with high color quality February 20th, 2018

Rutgers-Led Innovation Could Spur Faster, Cheaper, Nano-Based Manufacturing: Scalable and cost-effective manufacturing of thin film devices February 14th, 2018

Joseph N. Pelton named 2017 Lifeboat Foundation Guardian Award Winner February 1st, 2018

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



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project