Burress hall at Virginia Tech including some pictures of MEMS devices and MICRON clean room facilitie

Research Projects

Three-Dimensionally Independent Microchannel Fabrication

Preconcentrator

BioMEMS

Gas Chromatography

On-Chip Microprocessor Cooling

 

 

Three-Dimensionally Independent Microchannel Fabrication

In this project a novel fabrication process has been developed which allows for three-dimensionally independent features to be etched in silicon using SF6 gas in a deep reactive ion etcher (DRIE) after a single etch step. The mechanism allowing for different feature depths and widths to be produced over a wafer is reactive ion etch lag, where etch rate scales with the exposed feature size in the mask. A modified Langmuir model has been developed relating the geometry of the exposed areas in a specific mask pattern as well as the etch duration to the final depth and width of a channel that is produced after isotropic silicon etching. This fabrication process is tailored for microfluidic network design, but the capabilities of the process can be applied elsewhere.

  Some pictures of 3D etching process

                                                                                                                                                             Back to top

 

Preconcentrator

Analytical procedures utilize different measurement methods to assess a number of characteristics to distinguish one chemical species from another. Sample pretreatment methods, such as preconcentration, are used to increase the detection sensitivity and selectivity of many analytical instruments. Conventional preconcentrators are troubled by large pressure drops, dead volumes, and high power consumptions. However, the advancement of micro electromechanical systems (MEMS) technology has enabled the realization of miniaturized preconcentrators that overcome these shortcomings. We have microfabricated a preconcentrators device that has a high surface-to-volume ratio, low thermal mass, small flow resistance, and yet high capacity. We achieved unprecedented preconcentration factor of 10,000! 

 

                                                                                                                                                             Back to top

 

BioMEMS

MEMS technology has been recently used in a wide variety of biomedical applications. In our lab we are using MEMS technology for controlling cellular microenvironment. Specifically, we are using 3-D silicon microstructures, using a single-mask single-etch-step process based on our latest technology to study cell-surface interactions and  create novel MEMS-based biosensors for cell separation and cancer diagnosis. We are also working on electrical and mechanical characterization of a single cell and investigating the effect of different anticancer drugs on cancer cells behavior.

 

Some pictures of BIOMEMS

 

 Some pictures of BIOMEMS

                                                                                                                                                             Back to top  

Gas Chromatography

Gas Chromatography is a unique and versatile technique for separation and identification of volatile and semivolatile organic mixtures. GC has a wide range of applications in the pharmaceutical industry, environmental monitoring, petroleum distillation, clinical chemistry, and food processing. Conventional GCs provide accurate analysis of complex mixtures but at the expense of using large, power-hungry, and relatively expensive table-top instruments. MEMS technology has already demonstrated the possibility of realizing micro gas chromatography systems (µGC) which exhibit faster analysis times, lower power consumption, and higher portability compared to bulky conventional GCs. “GC group” is working on the development of high-speed and high-performance separation columns. Our purpose is to design and implement a µGC system which is able to separate and analyze more than 100 components in less than 10 seconds.

Some Pictures of Gas Chromatography

                                                                                                                                                             Back to top

 

On-Chip Microprocessor Cooling

In this project a microchip cooling device for high-heat flux applications has been designed and fabricated using the three-dimensionally independent fabrication method. Thus far, heat flux in excess of 100W/cm2 has been cooled using 750µL/s flow rate of water through the backside of a silicon chip. This single-mask process reduces risk of damage to the chip and currently provides the capability to cool high-heat-flux microprocessors for the next 10 years. This project is actively under research to expand both the cooling capacity of the design as well as to improve the structure of the complete cooling system.

Some Pictures of Chip cooling

                                                                                                                                                             Back to top

 VT MEMS LAB :: 475 Whittemore Hall, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, 24061

Copyright 2010 Virginia Tech MEMS Laboratory, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Privacy Statement | Contact Webmaster