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

New nano approach could cut dose of leading HIV treatment in half February 24th, 2017

Atom-scale oxidation mechanism of nanoparticles helps develop anti-corrosion materials February 24th, 2017

Atomic force imaging used to study nematodes: KFU bionanotechnology lab (head - Dr. Rawil Fakhrullin) has obtained 3-D images of nematodes' cuticles February 23rd, 2017

Particle Works creates range of high performance quantum dots February 23rd, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Atom-scale oxidation mechanism of nanoparticles helps develop anti-corrosion materials February 24th, 2017

Atomic force imaging used to study nematodes: KFU bionanotechnology lab (head - Dr. Rawil Fakhrullin) has obtained 3-D images of nematodes' cuticles February 23rd, 2017

Molecular phenomenon discovered by advanced NMR facility: Cutting edge technology has shown a molecule self-assembling into different forms when passing between solution state to solid state, and back again - a curious phenomenon in science - says research by the University of Wa February 22nd, 2017

'Lossless' metamaterial could boost efficiency of lasers and other light-based devices February 20th, 2017

Possible Futures

New nano approach could cut dose of leading HIV treatment in half February 24th, 2017

Atom-scale oxidation mechanism of nanoparticles helps develop anti-corrosion materials February 24th, 2017

EmTech Asia breaks new barriers with potential applications of space exploration with NASA and MIT February 22nd, 2017

Tiny nanoclusters could solve big problems for lithium-ion batteries February 21st, 2017

Academic/Education

Nominations Invited for $250,000 Kabiller Prize in Nanoscience: Major international prize recognizes a visionary nanotechnology researcher February 20th, 2017

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

MEMS

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

Leti Coordinating Project to Adapt Obstacle-Detection Technology Used in Autonomous Cars for Portable and Wearable Systems: INSPEX to Combine Knowhow of Nine European Organizations to Create Portable and Wearable Spatial-Exploration Systems February 2nd, 2017

Manufacturing platform makes intricate biocompatible micromachines January 7th, 2017

STMicroelectronics Peps Up Booming Social-Fitness Scene with Smart Motion Sensors for Better Accuracy, Longer Battery Life, and Faster Time to Market January 2nd, 2017

Sensors

Strem Chemicals and Dotz Nano Ltd. Sign Distribution Agreement for Graphene Quantum Dots Collaboration February 21st, 2017

Liquid metal nano printing set to revolutionize electronics: Creating integrated circuits just atoms thick February 18th, 2017

Research opens door to smaller, cheaper, more agile communications tech February 16th, 2017

Metamaterial: Mail armor inspires physicists: KIT researchers reverse hall coefficient -- medieval mail armor inspired development of metamaterial with novel properties February 15th, 2017

Announcements

New nano approach could cut dose of leading HIV treatment in half February 24th, 2017

Atom-scale oxidation mechanism of nanoparticles helps develop anti-corrosion materials February 24th, 2017

Atomic force imaging used to study nematodes: KFU bionanotechnology lab (head - Dr. Rawil Fakhrullin) has obtained 3-D images of nematodes' cuticles February 23rd, 2017

Particle Works creates range of high performance quantum dots February 23rd, 2017

Military

'Lossless' metamaterial could boost efficiency of lasers and other light-based devices February 20th, 2017

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

Graphene foam gets big and tough: Rice University's nanotube-reinforced material can be shaped, is highly conductive February 13th, 2017

Meta-lenses bring benchtop performance to small, hand-held spectrometer: Game-changing nanostructure-based lenses allow smaller devices, increased functionality February 9th, 2017

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

Oxford Instruments announces Dr Brad Ramshaw of Cornell University, as winner of the 2017 Lee Osheroff Richardson Science Prize February 20th, 2017

Nominations Invited for $250,000 Kabiller Prize in Nanoscience: Major international prize recognizes a visionary nanotechnology researcher February 20th, 2017

'Lossless' metamaterial could boost efficiency of lasers and other light-based devices February 20th, 2017

Good vibrations help reveal molecular details: Rice University scientists combine disciplines to pinpoint small structures in unlabeled molecules February 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