Multi-scale Systems and Sensors Research Group
Current research highlights:
Optimizing Chemo-Mechanical Structures for MEMS Chemical Vapor Sensor Arrays: Michigan Tech faculty are collaborating with researchers at the University of West Virginia, Sandia National Labs, and several Michigan MEMS companies to improve sensitivity, selectivity and reliability of MEMS based sensors for detecting nerve gas and other chemical vapors. One goal of the project is to fabricate novel porous structures for increasing sensing surface area. Another key goal is to incorporate chemical and structural behavior into a multi-regime design optimization. Expected outcomes are new MEMS sensors with superior performance and a new design methodology for dealing with the vast design parameter space of chemo-mechanical devices.
Real Time Electrical Characterization of Carbon Nanotube Deposition onto Electrode Gaps: The goal of the research is to verify that carbon nanotubes deposited across electrode gaps can be verified in real time by simultaneously measuring the changing electrical characteristics of the gap impedance. A simulation method of the assembly processes of carbon nanotubes by dielectrophoresis is introduced which considers the effect of carbon annotubes on the field. A calculation model of dielectrophoresis force has been developed. The model divides a carbon nanotube into segments to reduce the field non-uniformity around each physical unit for dielectrophoretic force calculations and increases the computational accuracy. The numerical results have been used to analyze CNT assembly processes between electric conductors and help to optimize controlling parameters.
Investigation of Two-Phase Flow at the Capillary Scale: A systematic experimental and analytical investigation of two-phase flow at the capillary scale is underway. High speed microscopy is used to examine the effects of surface tension, interface curvature, interface shear, and gas phase inertia on the morphology of two-phase flow through microchannels. The result will be a more thorough understanding of two-phase flow in systems where capillary forces are important. The knowledge gained may be applied to the design and development of advanced MEMS technologies and to improved water management strategies for more reliable fuel cell operation.
Protein-Based Toxin Nanosensors: Nanosensors utilizing the unique properties of the optical protein bacteriorhodopsin and functionalized semiconductor quantum dots are being developed to detect minute concentrations of airborne toxins. A generic nanoscale sensing platform with the capability to detect a wide array of select particles will have several applications including smart munitions and enhanced soldier security. The work has resulted in an innovative method to activate bacteriorhodopsin-based sensors with quantum dots, allowing these sensors to operate on the nanoscale.