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Power management interface circuit for MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems) bio-sensing and chemical sensing applications

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Power supply management is important for MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems) bio-sensing and chemical sensing applications. The dissertation focuses on discussion of accessibility to different power sources and supply tuning in sensing applications. First, the dissertation presents a high efficiency DC-DC converter for

Power supply management is important for MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems) bio-sensing and chemical sensing applications. The dissertation focuses on discussion of accessibility to different power sources and supply tuning in sensing applications. First, the dissertation presents a high efficiency DC-DC converter for a miniaturized Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC). The miniaturized MFC produces up to approximately 10µW with an output voltage of 0.4-0.7V. Such a low voltage, which is also load dependent, prevents the MFC to directly drive low power electronics. A PFM (Pulse Frequency Modulation) type DC-DC converter in DCM (Discontinuous Conduction Mode) is developed to address the challenges and provides a load independent output voltage with high conversion efficiency. The DC-DC converter, implemented in UMC 0.18µm technology, has been thoroughly characterized, coupled with the MFC. At 0.9V output, the converter has a peak efficiency of 85% with 9µW load, highest efficiency over prior publication. Energy could be harvested wirelessly and often has profound impacts on system performance. The dissertation reports a side-by-side comparison of two wireless and passive sensing systems: inductive and electromagnetic (EM) couplings for an application of in-situ and real-time monitoring of wafer cleanliness in semiconductor facilities. The wireless system, containing the MEMS sensor works with battery-free operations. Two wireless systems based on inductive and EM couplings have been implemented. The working distance of the inductive coupling system is limited by signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR) while that of the EM coupling is limited by the coupled power. The implemented on-wafer transponders achieve a working distance of 6 cm and 25 cm with a concentration resolution of less than 2% (4 ppb for a 200 ppb solution) for inductive and EM couplings, respectively. Finally, the supply tuning is presented in bio-sensing application to mitigate temperature sensitivity. The FBAR (film bulk acoustic resonator) based oscillator is an attractive method in label-free sensing application. Molecular interactions on FBAR surface induce mass change, which results in resonant frequency shift of FBAR. While FBAR has a high-Q to be sensitive to the molecular interactions, FBAR has finite temperature sensitivity. A temperature compensation technique is presented that improves the temperature coefficient of a 1.625 GHz FBAR-based oscillator from -118 ppm/K to less than 1 ppm/K by tuning the supply voltage of the oscillator. The tuning technique adds no additional component and has a large frequency tunability of -4305 ppm/V.

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Date Created
2012

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Graphene Growth and Transfer on Ultrathin Platinum Films

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Graphene is a very strong two-dimensional material with a lot of potential applications in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). In this research, graphene is being optimized for use in a 5 m x 5 m graphene resonator. To work properly, this graphene

Graphene is a very strong two-dimensional material with a lot of potential applications in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). In this research, graphene is being optimized for use in a 5 m x 5 m graphene resonator. To work properly, this graphene resonator must have a uniform strain across all manufactured devices. To reduce strain induced in graphene sheets grown for use in these resonators, evaporated platinum has been used in this investigation due to its relatively lower surface roughness compared to copper films. The final goal is to have the layer of ultrathin platinum (<=200 nm) deposited on the MEMS graphene resonator and used to grow graphene directly onto the devices to remove the manual transfer step due to its inscalability. After growth, graphene is coated with polymer and the platinum is then etched. This investigation concentrated on the transfer process of graphene onto Si/SiO2 substrate from the platinum films. It was determined that the ideal platinum etchant was aqua regia at a volumetric ratio of 6:3:1 (H2O:HCl:HNO3). This concentration was dilute enough to preserve the polymer and graphene layer, but strong enough to etch within a day. Type and thickness of polymer support layers were also investigated. PMMA at a thickness of 200 nm was ideal because it was easy to remove with acetone and strong enough to support the graphene during the etch process. A reference growth recipe was used in this investigation, but now that the transfer has been demonstrated, growth can be optimized for even thinner films.

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Date Created
2016-12

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Fully passive wireless acquisition of neuropotentials

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The ability to monitor electrophysiological signals from the sentient brain is requisite to decipher its enormously complex workings and initiate remedial solutions for the vast amount of neurologically-based disorders. Despite immense advancements in creating a variety of instruments to record

The ability to monitor electrophysiological signals from the sentient brain is requisite to decipher its enormously complex workings and initiate remedial solutions for the vast amount of neurologically-based disorders. Despite immense advancements in creating a variety of instruments to record signals from the brain, the translation of such neurorecording instrumentation to real clinical domains places heavy demands on their safety and reliability, both of which are not entirely portrayed by presently existing implantable recording solutions. In an attempt to lower these barriers, alternative wireless radar backscattering techniques are proposed to render the technical burdens of the implant chip to entirely passive neurorecording processes that transpire in the absence of formal integrated power sources or powering schemes along with any active circuitry. These radar-like wireless backscattering mechanisms are used to conceive of fully passive neurorecording operations of an implantable microsystem. The fully passive device potentially manifests inherent advantages over current wireless implantable and wired recording systems: negligible heat dissipation to reduce risks of brain tissue damage and minimal circuitry for long term reliability as a chronic implant. Fully passive neurorecording operations are realized via intrinsic nonlinear mixing properties of the varactor diode. These mixing and recording operations are directly activated by wirelessly interrogating the fully passive device with a microwave carrier signal. This fundamental carrier signal, acquired by the implant antenna, mixes through the varactor diode along with the internal targeted neuropotential brain signals to produce higher frequency harmonics containing the targeted neuropotential signals. These harmonics are backscattered wirelessly to the external interrogator that retrieves and recovers the original neuropotential brain signal. The passive approach removes the need for internal power sources and may alleviate heat trauma and reliability issues that limit practical implementation of existing implantable neurorecorders.

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Date Created
2014

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High performance microbial fuel cells and supercapacitors using Micro-Electro-Mechanical System (MEMS) technology

Description

A Microbial fuel cell (MFC) is a bio-inspired carbon-neutral, renewable electrochemical converter to extract electricity from catabolic reaction of micro-organisms. It is a promising technology capable of directly converting the abundant biomass on the planet into electricity and potentially alleviate

A Microbial fuel cell (MFC) is a bio-inspired carbon-neutral, renewable electrochemical converter to extract electricity from catabolic reaction of micro-organisms. It is a promising technology capable of directly converting the abundant biomass on the planet into electricity and potentially alleviate the emerging global warming and energy crisis. The current and power density of MFCs are low compared with conventional energy conversion techniques. Since its debut in 2002, many studies have been performed by adopting a variety of new configurations and structures to improve the power density. The reported maximum areal and volumetric power densities range from 19 mW/m2 to 1.57 W/m2 and from 6.3 W/m3 to 392 W/m3, respectively, which are still low compared with conventional energy conversion techniques. In this dissertation, the impact of scaling effect on the performance of MFCs are investigated, and it is found that by scaling down the characteristic length of MFCs, the surface area to volume ratio increases and the current and power density improves. As a result, a miniaturized MFC fabricated by Micro-Electro-Mechanical System(MEMS) technology with gold anode is presented in this dissertation, which demonstrate a high power density of 3300 W/m3. The performance of the MEMS MFC is further improved by adopting anodes with higher surface area to volume ratio, such as carbon nanotube (CNT) and graphene based anodes, and the maximum power density is further improved to a record high power density of 11220 W/m3. A novel supercapacitor by regulating the respiration of the bacteria is also presented, and a high power density of 531.2 A/m2 (1,060,000 A/m3) and 197.5 W/m2 (395,000 W/m3), respectively, are marked, which are one to two orders of magnitude higher than any previously reported microbial electrochemical techniques.

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Date Created
2016