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Multi-scale Systems and Sensors

Multi-scale Sensors and Systems
The Multi-scale Sensors and Systems Research Group specialize in the design, fabrication, integration, and testing of physically and functionally compatible devices and components that differ in size by thousands or millions of times. With decades of multi-scale research and expertise, the group is poised to dramatically change the face of technology across the full range of engineering and science applications. The Multi-scale Sensors and Systems research focuses on developing sensors that allow real-time monitoring and control to ensure system stability for applications that require feedback at each process stage, from the molecular scale detection of phenomena to wide area measurement.

Currently, a major area of research for the group is the development of distributed sensing for sustainable fuel production and utilization. The increase the efficiency and optimization of energy conversion from biomass, the group is developing sensors that will support the operation of biofuel production plants and ethanol engines. Their goal is to detect and report feedback at every stage of energy use, from the nano-scale reactions at the moment of combustion to the reactions as exhaust leaves an automobile.

The Multi-scale Sensors and Systems research group encourages interdisciplinary research and implementaion of nanotechnologies and microtechnologies into deplayable systems. Researchers collaborate with cross-departmental colleagues on projects that include biosensing technologies, microfluidics for fuel cells, and micro-scale metal forming. The future of multi-scale sensors and systems research lies in the use of biological materials and processes that are able tofunction in non-biological systems.  Link for MuSTI Center

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.


Nanotechnology at Michigan Tech Nanotechnology at Michigan Tech
In 1997, Dr. Craig Friedrich left Louisiana for Michigan Tech, and has since played a key role in coordinating the university's involvement in micro and nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology at Michigan Tech (PDF)