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Proceedings Paper

MEMS- and NEMS-based smart devices and systems
Author(s): Vijay K. Varadan
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Paper Abstract

The microelectronics industry has seen explosive growth during the last thirty years. Extremely large markets for logic and memory devices have driven the development of new materials, and technologies for the fabrication of even more complex devices with features sized now don at the sub micron and nanometer level. Recent interest has arisen in employing these materials, tools and technologies for the fabrication of miniature sensors and actuators and their integration with electronic circuits to produce smart devices and systems. This effort offers the promise of: 1) increasing the performance and manufacturability of both sensors and actuators by exploiting new batch fabrication processes developed including micro stereo lithographic an micro molding techniques; 2) developing novel classes of materials and mechanical structures not possible previously, such as diamond like carbon, silicon carbide and carbon nanotubes, micro-turbines and micro-engines; 3) development of technologies for the system level and wafer level integration of micro components at the nanometer precision, such as self-assembly techniques and robotic manipulation; 4) development of control and communication systems for MEMS devices, such as optical and RF wireless, and power delivery systems, etc. A novel composite structure can be tailored by functionalizing carbon nano tubes and chemically bonding them with the polymer matrix e.g. block or graft copolymer, or even cross-linked copolymer, to impart exceptional structural, electronic and surface properties. Bio- and Mechanical-MEMS devices derived from this hybrid composite provide a new avenue for future smart systems. The integration of NEMS (NanoElectroMechanical Systems), MEMS, IDTs (Interdigital Transducers) and required microelectronics and conformal antenna in the multifunctional smart materials and composites results in a smart system suitable for sensing and control of a variety functions in automobile, aerospace, marine and civil structures and food and medical industries. This unique combination of technologies also results in novel conformal sensors that can be remotely sensed by an antenna system with the advantage of no power requirements at the sensor site. This paper provides a brief review of MEMS and NEMS based smart systems for various applications mentioned above. Carbon Nano Tubes (CNT) with their unique structure, have already proven to be valuable in their application as tips for scanning probe microscopy, field emission devices, nanoelectronics, H2-storage, electromagnetic absorbers, ESD, EMI films and coatings and structural composites. For many of these applications, highly purified and functionalized CNT which are compatible with many host polymers are needed. A novel microwave CVD processing technique to meet these requirements has been developed at Penn State Center for the engineering of Electronic and Acoustic Materials and Devices (CEEAMD). This method enables the production of highly purified carbon nano tubes with variable size (from 5-40 nm) at low cost (per gram) and high yield. Whereas, carbon nano tubes synthesized using the laser ablation or arc discharge evaporation method always include impurity due to catalyst or catalyst support. The Penn State research is based on the use of zeolites over other metal/metal oxides in the microwave field for a high production and uniformity of the product. An extended conventional purification method has been employed to purify our products in order to remove left over impurity. A novel composite structure can be tailored by functionalizing carbon nano tubes and chemically bonding them with the polymer matrix e.g. block or graft copolymer, or even cross- linked copolymer, to impart exceptional structural, electronic and surface properties. Bio- and Mechanical-MEMS devices derived from this hybrid composites will be presented.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 November 2001
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 4591, Electronics and Structures for MEMS II, (21 November 2001); doi: 10.1117/12.449169
Show Author Affiliations
Vijay K. Varadan, The Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4591:
Electronics and Structures for MEMS II
Neil W. Bergmann; Derek Abbott; Alex Hariz; Vijay K. Varadan, Editor(s)

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