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

Fast, efficient sperm tails inspire nanobiotechnology December 5th, 2016

Journal Nanotechnology Progress International (JONPI) Volume 6, issue 2 coming out soon! December 5th, 2016

Infrared instrumentation leader secures exclusive use of Vantablack coating December 5th, 2016

Construction of practical quantum computers radically simplified: Scientists invent ground-breaking new method that puts quantum computers within reach December 5th, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Construction of practical quantum computers radically simplified: Scientists invent ground-breaking new method that puts quantum computers within reach December 5th, 2016

Shape matters when light meets atom: Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices December 4th, 2016

Research Study: MetaSOLTM Shatters Solar Panel Efficiency Forecasts with Innovative New Coating: Coating Provides 1.2 Percent Absolute Enhancement to Triple Junction Solar Cells December 2nd, 2016

Deep insights from surface reactions: Researchers use Stampede supercomputer to study new chemical sensing methods, desalination and bacterial energy production December 2nd, 2016

Possible Futures

Fast, efficient sperm tails inspire nanobiotechnology December 5th, 2016

Construction of practical quantum computers radically simplified: Scientists invent ground-breaking new method that puts quantum computers within reach December 5th, 2016

Shape matters when light meets atom: Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices December 4th, 2016

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses: Medicine diffusion capsule could locally treat multiple ailments and diseases over several weeks December 3rd, 2016

Academic/Education

Oxford Nanoimaging report on how the Nanoimager, a desktop microscope delivering single molecule, super-resolution performance, is being applied at the MRC Centre for Molecular Bacteriology & Infection November 22nd, 2016

The University of Applied Sciences in Upper Austria uses Deben tensile stages as an integral part of their computed tomography research and testing facility October 18th, 2016

Enterprise In Space Partners with Sketchfab and 3D Hubs for NewSpace Education October 13th, 2016

New Agricultural Research Center Debuts at UCF October 12th, 2016

MEMS

Vesper a Finalist for Two ACE Awards: Ultimate Products and Innovator of the Year -- Industry’s first piezoelectric MEMS microphone and Vesper CTO Bobby Littrell recognized for prestigious electronics-industry awards November 10th, 2016

Semiconductor-free microelectronics are now possible, thanks to metamaterials November 9th, 2016

Researchers surprised at the unexpected hardness of gallium nitride: A Lehigh University team discovers that the widely used semiconducting material is almost as wear-resistant as diamonds October 31st, 2016

Leti Scientists Participating in Sessions on Med Tech, Automotive Technologies, MEMS, Si-photonics and Lithography at SEMICON Europa: Teams also Will Demonstrate Technology Advances in Telecom, Data Fusion, Energy, Silicon Photonics and 3D Integration October 18th, 2016

Sensors

Shape matters when light meets atom: Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices December 4th, 2016

Deep insights from surface reactions: Researchers use Stampede supercomputer to study new chemical sensing methods, desalination and bacterial energy production December 2nd, 2016

Tip-assisted chemistry enables chemical reactions at femtoliter scale November 16th, 2016

'Back to the Future' inspires solar nanotech-powered clothing November 15th, 2016

Announcements

Fast, efficient sperm tails inspire nanobiotechnology December 5th, 2016

Journal Nanotechnology Progress International (JONPI) Volume 6, issue 2 coming out soon! December 5th, 2016

Infrared instrumentation leader secures exclusive use of Vantablack coating December 5th, 2016

Construction of practical quantum computers radically simplified: Scientists invent ground-breaking new method that puts quantum computers within reach December 5th, 2016

Military

Infrared instrumentation leader secures exclusive use of Vantablack coating December 5th, 2016

Quantum obstacle course changes material from superconductor to insulator December 1st, 2016

Physics, photosynthesis and solar cells: Researchers combine quantum physics and photosynthesis to make discovery that could lead to highly efficient, green solar cells November 30th, 2016

New method for analyzing crystal structure: Exotic materials called photonic crystals reveal their internal characteristics with new method November 30th, 2016

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

Shape matters when light meets atom: Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices December 4th, 2016

Quantum obstacle course changes material from superconductor to insulator December 1st, 2016

'Back to the Future' inspires solar nanotech-powered clothing November 15th, 2016

2-D material a brittle surprise: Rice University researchers finds molybdenum diselenide not as strong as they thought November 14th, 2016

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