Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Innovation could bring super-accurate sensors, crime forensics

Abstract:
A new technology enabling tiny machines called micro electromechanical systems to "self-calibrate" could make possible super-accurate and precise sensors for crime-scene forensics, environmental testing and medical diagnostics.

By Emil Venere

Innovation could bring super-accurate sensors, crime forensics

West Lafayette, IN | Posted on August 10th, 2010

The innovation might enable researchers to create a "nose-on-a-chip" for tracking criminal suspects, sensors for identifying hazardous solid or gaseous substances, as well as a new class of laboratory tools for specialists working in nanotechnology and biotechnology.

"In the everyday macroscopic world, we can accurately measure distance and mass because we have well-known standards such as rulers or weights that we use to calibrate devices that measure distances or forces," said Jason Vaughn Clark, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and mechanical engineering. "But for the micro- or nanoscopic worlds, there have been no standards and no practical ways for measuring very small distances or forces."

The micro electromechanical systems, or MEMS, are promising for an array of high-tech applications.

Researchers previously have used various techniques to gauge the force and movement of tiny objects containing components so small they have to be measured on the scale of micrometers or nanometers, millionths or billionths of a meter, respectively. However, the accuracy of conventional techniques is typically off by 10 percent or more because of their inherent uncertainties, Clark said.

"And due to process variations within fabrication, no two microstructures have the same geometric and material properties," he said.

These small variations in microstructure geometry, stiffness and mass can significantly affect performance.

"A 10 percent change in width can cause a 100 percent change in a microstructure's stiffness," Clark said. "Process variations have made it difficult for researchers to accurately predict the performance of MEMS."

The new technology created by Clark, called electro micro metrology - or EMM - is enabling engineers to account for process variations by determining the precise movement and force that's being applied to, or sensed by, a MEMS device.

"For the first time, MEMS can now truly self-calibrate without any external references," Clark said. "That is, our MEMS are able to determine their unique mechanical performance properties. And in doing so, they become very accurate sensors or actuators."

Research findings were detailed in two papers presented in June during a meeting of the Society of Experimental Mechanics in Indianapolis and at the Nanotech 2010 Conference and Expo in Anaheim, Calif. The work is based at the Birck Nanotechnology Center in Purdue's Discovery Park.

MEMS accelerometers and gyroscopes currently are being used in commercial products, including the Nintendo Wii video game, the iPhone, walking robots and automotive airbags.

"Those MEMS work well because they don't need ultra-high precision or accuracy," Clark said. "It is difficult for conventional technology to accurately measure very small forces, such as van der Waals forces between molecules or a phenomenon called the Casimir effect that is due to particles popping in and out of existence everywhere in the universe."

These forces are measured in "piconewtons," a trillionth of the weight of a medium-size apple.

"If we are trying to investigate or exploit picoscale phenomena like Casimir forces, van der Waals forces, the hydrogen bond forces in DNA, high-density data storage or even nanoassembly, we need much higher precision and accuracy than conventional methods provide," Clark said. "With conventional tools, we know we are sensing something, but without accurate measurements it is difficult to fully understand the phenomena, repeat the experiments and create predictive models."

Self-calibration also is needed because microdevices might be exposed to harsh environments or remain dormant for long periods.

"Say you have a MEMS sensor in the environment or on a space probe," Clark said. "You want it to be able to wake up and recalibrate itself to account for changes resulting from temperature differences, changes in the gas or liquid ambient, or other conditions that might affect its properties. That's when self-calibration technology is needed."

EMM defines mechanical properties solely in terms of electrical measurements, which is different than conventional methods, he said.

For example, by measuring changes in an electronic property called capacitance, or the storage of electrical charge, Clark is able to obtain the microstructure's shape, stiffness, force or displacement with high accuracy and precision, he said.

"We can measure capacitance more precisely than we can measure any other quantity to date," he said. "That means we could potentially measure certain mechanical phenomena more precisely by using MEMS than we could by using conventional macroscale measurement tools."

The researcher will use the new approach to improve the accuracy of instruments called atomic force microscopes, which are used by nanotechnologists.

"The atomic force microscope, which jumpstarted the nanotechnology revolution, is often used to investigate small displacements and forces," Clark said. "But the operator of the tool cannot precisely say what distance or force is being sensed beyond one or two significant digits. And the typical operator knows even less about the true accuracy of their measurements."

Purdue operates about 30 atomic force microscopes, and Clark's research group is planning to teach users how to calibrate their instruments using the self-calibrating MEMS.

He also plans to use his new approach to create a miniature self-calibrating "AFM-on-a-chip," dramatically shrinking the size and cost of the laboratory instrument.

"Such an advent should open the door to the nanoworld to a much larger number of groups or individuals," he said.

Clark's research group has fabricated and tested the first generation of self-calibrating MEMS, and repeatable results have shown the presence of the Casimir and van der Waals forces.

The research is funded by the National Science Foundation.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Writer:
Emil Venere
(765) 494-4709


Source:
Jason Vaughn Clark
(765) 494-3437


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 News Press

News and information

NMTI announces breakthrough solutions for HAMR nanoantenna for next-generation ultra-high density magnetic storage November 21st, 2014

Leica Microsystems Presents Universal Hybrid Detector for Single Molecule Detection and Imaging at SfN and ASCB: Leica HyD SMD - the Optimal Detector for Precise and Reliable SMD data November 20th, 2014

Silver Nanoparticles Produced in Iran from Forest Plants Extract November 20th, 2014

Nano Sorbents Able to Remove Pollutions Caused by Oil Derivatives November 20th, 2014

Law enforcement/Anti-Counterfeiting/Security/Loss prevention

Longhorn beetle inspires ink to fight counterfeiting November 5th, 2014

Better bomb-sniffing technology: University of Utah engineers develop material for better detectors November 4th, 2014

Superconducting circuits, simplified: New circuit design could unlock the power of experimental superconducting computer chips October 18th, 2014

IRLYNX and CEA-Leti to Streamline New CMOS-based Infrared Sensing Modules Dedicated to Human-activities Characterization October 15th, 2014

NEMS

Carbyne morphs when stretched: Rice University calculations show carbon-atom chain would go metal to semiconductor July 21st, 2014

LetiDays Grenoble to Present Multiple Perspectives on Development, Challenges and Markets for the IoT April 14th, 2014

Columbia engineers make world's smallest FM radio transmitter: Team demonstrates new application of graphene using positive feedback November 18th, 2013

Revisiting quantum effects in MEMS: New calculations shows that the influence of quantum effects on the operating conditions of nanodevices has, until now, been overestimated November 15th, 2013

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

NMTI announces breakthrough solutions for HAMR nanoantenna for next-generation ultra-high density magnetic storage November 21st, 2014

Sustainable Nanotechnologies Project November 20th, 2014

Quantum mechanical calculations reveal the hidden states of enzyme active sites November 20th, 2014

NRL Scientists Discover Novel Metamaterial Properties within Hexagonal Boron Nitride November 20th, 2014

Possible Futures

A novel method for identifying the body’s ‘noisiest’ networks November 19th, 2014

Researchers discern the shapes of high-order Brownian motions November 17th, 2014

VDMA Electronics Production Equipment: Growth track for 2014 and 2015 confirmed: Business climate survey shows robust industry sector November 14th, 2014

Open Materials Development Will Be Key for HP's Success in 3D Printing: HP can make a big splash in 3D printing, but it needs to shore up technology claims and avoid the temptation of the razor/razor blade business model in order to flourish November 11th, 2014

Academic/Education

SUNY Poly Student Awarded Fellowship with the U.S. Department of Energy's Postgraduate Research Program: Ph.D. Candidate Accepts Postmaster's Appointment To Conduct Research At Albany NanoTech Complex November 13th, 2014

SUNY Polytechnic Institute Hosts Massive Crowd of More Than 3,000 People Who Attended Community Day Activities Across New York State: CNSE’s ‘NANOvember’ kickoff event highlights New York State’s growing high-tech sector with open house events in Albany, Utica, and Rochester November 3rd, 2014

SUNY Polytechnic Institute Invites the Public to Attend its Popular Statewide 'NANOvember' Series of Outreach and Educational Events October 23rd, 2014

First Canada Excellence Research Chair gets $10 million from the federal government for oilsands research at the University of Calgary: Federal government announces prestigious research chair to study improving oil production efficiency October 19th, 2014

MEMS

MEMS Industry Group's 10th Annual Executive Conference Showcases Rapid Innovation in MEMS/Sensors: Emphasizes Spirit of Collaboration, Supporting First Open-Source Algorithm Community, New Standardization Efforts November 10th, 2014

MEMS & Sensors Technology Showcase: Finalists Announced for MEMS Executive Congress US 2014 October 23rd, 2014

IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting To Celebrate 60th Anniversary as The Leading Technical Conference for Advanced Semiconductor Devices September 18th, 2014

Carbyne morphs when stretched: Rice University calculations show carbon-atom chain would go metal to semiconductor July 21st, 2014

Nanomedicine

Quantum mechanical calculations reveal the hidden states of enzyme active sites November 20th, 2014

Silver Nanoparticles Produced in Iran from Forest Plants Extract November 20th, 2014

Tokyo Institute of Technology research: Protein-engineered cages aid studies of cell functions November 19th, 2014

A novel method for identifying the body’s ‘noisiest’ networks November 19th, 2014

Sensors

Canatu Launches CNB In-Mold Film for Transparent Touch on 3D Surfaces –in Cars, Household Appliances, Wearables, Portables November 20th, 2014

UO-industry collaboration points to improved nanomaterials: University of Oregon microscope puts spotlight on the surface structure of quantum dots for designing new solar devices November 20th, 2014

Spiraling light, nanoparticles and insights into life’s structure November 19th, 2014

New materials for more powerful solar cells: Major breakthrough in solar energy November 11th, 2014

Announcements

NMTI announces breakthrough solutions for HAMR nanoantenna for next-generation ultra-high density magnetic storage November 21st, 2014

Leica Microsystems Presents Universal Hybrid Detector for Single Molecule Detection and Imaging at SfN and ASCB: Leica HyD SMD - the Optimal Detector for Precise and Reliable SMD data November 20th, 2014

Silver Nanoparticles Produced in Iran from Forest Plants Extract November 20th, 2014

Nano Sorbents Able to Remove Pollutions Caused by Oil Derivatives November 20th, 2014

Homeland Security

Better bomb-sniffing technology: University of Utah engineers develop material for better detectors November 4th, 2014

Microrockets fueled by water neutralize chemical and biological warfare agents October 29th, 2014

NanoTechnology for Defense (NT4D) October 22nd, 2014

UT Arlington researchers develop transparent nanoscintillators for radiation detection for medical safety and homeland security September 29th, 2014

Environment

Silver Nanoparticles Produced in Iran from Forest Plants Extract November 20th, 2014

Nano Sorbents Able to Remove Pollutions Caused by Oil Derivatives November 20th, 2014

Application of Nanocomposites in Production of Photocatalysts for Water Treatment November 17th, 2014

BRAAVOO will design an unmanned surveying vessel and marine buoy that carry biosensors to monitor marine pollutants November 12th, 2014

Nanobiotechnology

Quantum mechanical calculations reveal the hidden states of enzyme active sites November 20th, 2014

Tokyo Institute of Technology research: Protein-engineered cages aid studies of cell functions November 19th, 2014

A novel method for identifying the body’s ‘noisiest’ networks November 19th, 2014

Implementation of DNA Chains in Designing Nanospin Pieces November 9th, 2014

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







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE