Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First precise MEMS output measurement technique unveiled

Date:
May 14, 2013
Source:
National Physical Laboratory
Summary:
The commercial application of MEMS, or micro-electro-mechanical systems, will receive a major boost today following the presentation of a brand new way to accurately measure the power requirements and outputs of all existing and future devices.

This is an example of a MEMS device whose accurate resonant frequency was measured by the harmonic distortion technique.
Credit: LNE

The commercial application of MEMS, or micro-electro-mechanical systems, will receive a major boost today following the presentation of a brand new way to accurately measure the power requirements and outputs of all existing and future devices. The cheap and easy to apply technique will be presented for the first time today at the TechConnect World Conference 2013 by a research team from Laboratoire national de métrologie et d'essais (LNE) in France. The researchers believe it will help manufacturers improve product performance, develop new functionalities, reduce energy consumption of mass production, respond to market demands for miniaturization, and increase reliability of MEMS devices around the world.

MEMS are very small devices that can be used as remotely powered sensors to measure variations in the physical environment such as changes in force, light, or motion, or conversely as actuators that convert changes in energy back into motion. They generally range in size from 20 micrometres (20 millionths of a metre) to a millimetre and made up of components that interact with the outside environment such as microsensors, and a central unit that processes data allowing MEMS to make decisions based on the information they receive.

Today's applications are hugely varied but include:

  • As accelerometers in airbag deployment systems for modern automobiles, detecting the rapid negative acceleration of the vehicle
  • In inkjet printer heads, reacting to patterns of heat provided by electric current by dispensing tiny droplets of ink at precise locations to form the image on the paper
  • In smartphones, measuring the rotation of the device to create an intuitive user interface

Despite these niche applications, the commercial growth of MEMS devices since their first development 50 years ago hasn't met expectations. This is partly due to a lack of understanding of the potential power requirements and outputs of these tiny devices. The problem is for many applications of MEMS the mechanical components must be embedded in protective wafer-level packaging. Without a way to access the mechanical system itself without breaking it, it is difficult for developers or customers to understand how to best utilise their product.

To address this issue, Dr Alexandre Bounouh and colleagues at the Laboratoire national de métrologie et d'essais (LNE) in France, developed a brand new experimental set-up to gain accurate information on mechanical values and properties of any MEMS device through electrical measurement. LNE is one of seven national research centres across Europe that makes up the Metrology for Energy Harvesting Project. The project, funded by the European Commission through the European Metrology Research Programme represents the first co-ordinated international attempt to apply the principles of metrology (measurement science) to energy harvesting products and materials.

Dr Bounouh's technique works by applying a current across the device with a varying frequency and allows you to analyse the harmonic content of the output voltage of the component parts. With some additional calculations the technique electrically determines all the mechanical characteristics of the MEMs device including the damping factor (a negative impact on the amplitude of oscillations), and the frequency that determines the maximum electrical power generation from mechanical vibrations of MEMS transducers.

"It's very easy and quick to make the measurement because all you are doing is connecting your system with two wires, applying a current and sampling the output signal," says Dr Bounouh. "This method doesn't require any big investment but still delivers very precise knowledge of the parameters and limits in the performance of your device and could easily be scaled up to measure large scale energy harvesting technologies across the microscopic and macroscopic scales" .

Since its development, several MEMS devices have been tested at LNE using the technique and their mechanical resonant frequencies have been measured with only a tiny uncertainty. In future Dr Bounouh and his colleagues believe the technique can be used to provide feedback on production methods that will allow manufacturers to design MEMS to the needs of each particular system they operate in. More accurate knowledge of the product output and energy requirements will also affect the choice of device from potential consumers who will now be able to select only those with optimised performance for their particular sector.

"Our accurate and traceable technique could be implemented for on-line production tests and measurements," adds Dr Bounouh. "This could deliver key competitive edge to EU companies and support large-scale manufacturing excellence by introducing metrological principles into industrial processes."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Physical Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Physical Laboratory. "First precise MEMS output measurement technique unveiled." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130514122749.htm>.
National Physical Laboratory. (2013, May 14). First precise MEMS output measurement technique unveiled. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130514122749.htm
National Physical Laboratory. "First precise MEMS output measurement technique unveiled." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130514122749.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) — MIT developed a robot modeled after a cheetah. It can run up to speeds of 10 mph, though researchers estimate it will eventually reach 30 mph. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) — Automobile manufacturer Local Motors created a drivable electric car using a 3-D printer. Printing the body only took 44 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 15, 2014) — New York officials unveil subway tunnels that were refurbished after Superstorm Sandy. Nathan Frandino reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:  

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile iPhone Android Web
      Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins