Sensors and Actuators

We are developing sensing concepts that take advantage of the small feature sizes enabled by microsystem technology and nanotechnology. Our new sensing concepts either rely on small-scale effects or they allow integration of miniaturized devices into engineering systems. Research on small-scale actuators seeks to manipulate matter or energy reliably and effectively.

Faculty Involved

Research Topics

Carbon Nanotube-based Sensors

Chemical Sensors

We are developing sensing concepts to detect the presence and the concentration of chemicals in liquids and in gases. These sensing concepts take advantage of the small scale including high surface to volume ratios and the scalability of devices. This allows integrating a large range of different sensing devices on the same substrate to increase the overall sensor performance in terms of sensitivity and selectivity.

Inertial Sensors

We are designing inertial microsensors and we are developing new microsystem operating schemes. These schemes include nonlinear control algorithms, microsystem stability considerations as well as spectral noise analysis. We also employ unconventional detection schemes such as interferometry for signal readout.

Ion Channel Sensors

Ion channels form passages in biological membranes through which ions can move across these membranes according to the adjustment of the channel barriers. Our interest in biological ion channel research includes dynamics, structure and applications. In particular, our research on large-scale dynamic modeling uses Brownian dynamics to describe ion channel properties such as permeability, hydrophobicity and polarity. Our goal is the development of effective and specific biosensors based on these molecular structures.

Micro-flow Control

We develop new methods for microflow control in order to manipulate minute amounts of sample on-chip for applications such as analysis of biological samples. These flow control methods include microvalves, micromixers, micropumps, and integrated filter structures. We also investigate microflow physics of complex microflows including multiphase flow to optimize microflow control strategies.

Optical Sensors

Research Projects

Microflow control technology
We are developing technology for microflow control that is suitable for portable low-cost instruments. Building blocks are fully integratable devices including microvalves, micropumps and micromixers. Concerns are low power consumption, fast response time and low cost.

Protein-based Solar Cell
Plants capture photons very efficiently. Can we learn from them in making photovoltaic devices? We are investigating the use of photosynthetic protein complexes in solar cells, with the aim of creating very low cost solar cells.

Angular rate sensors for Automobile and Biological projects
Gyroscopes are used to sense angular rate and when used along with accelerometers can be used as effective navigation sensors. Due to their tiny size(1cmx1cm)die and high sensitivity they could be used in minimally invasive surgery.