Paradigm Shift in MEMS toward Multi-Functional and Near-Zero Power Integrated Microsystems

Date: 2:00pm, February 28, 2017
Location:  Costa Commons (CEPSR 750)
Speaker: Dr. Matteo Rinaldi, Assistant Professor Northeastern University

Abstract:  Sensors are nowadays found in a wide variety of applications, such as smart mobile devices, automotive, healthcare and environmental monitoring. The recent advancements in terms of sensor miniaturization, low power consumption and low cost allow envisioning a new era for sensing in which the data collected from multiple individual smart sensor systems are combined to get information about the environ-ment that is more accurate and reliable than the individual sensor data. By leveraging such sensor fusion it will be possible to acquire complete and accurate information about the context in which human beings live, which has huge potential for the development of the Internet of Things (IoT) in which physical and virtual objects are linked through the exploitation of sensing and communication capabilities with the intent of making life simpler and more efficient for human beings.

This trend towards sensor fusion has dramatically increased the demand of new technology platforms, capable of delivering multiple sensing and wireless communication functionalities in a small foot print. In this context, Micro- and Nanoelectromechanical systems (MEMS/NEMS) technologies can have a tremendous impact since they can be used for the implementation of high performance sensors and wireless communication devices with reduced form factor and Integrated Circuit (IC) integration capability.

This talk presents a new class of MEMS/NEMS devices that can address some of the most important challenges in the areas of physical, chemical and biological detection and can be simultaneously used to synthesize high-Q reconfigurable and adaptive radio frequency (RF) resonant devices. By combining the unique physical, optical and electrical properties of advanced materials such as thin film piezoelectric ma-terials, graphene, photonic metamaterials, phase change materials and magnetic materials, multiple and advanced sensing and RF communication functionalities are implemented in a small footprint. Furthermore, a new class of sensors that can remain dormant, with near zero power consumption, until awoken by an external trigger or stimulus are presented as a solution to fundamentally break the paradigm of using active power to sense infrequent events and enable a nearly unlimited duration of operation for unattended ground sensors.

  Matteo Rinaldi received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Systems Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 2010. He joined the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at Northeastern University as an Assistant Professor in January 2012.
Dr. Rinaldi’s research focuses on understanding and exploiting the fundamental properties of micro/nanomechanical structures and advanced nanomaterials to engineer new classes of micro and nanoelectromechanical systems (M/NEMS) with unique and enabling features applied to the areas of chemical, physical and biological sensing and low power reconfigurable radio communication systems. In particular, his group has been actively working on experimental research topics and practical applications to ultra-low power MEMS/NEMS sensors (infrared, magnetic, chemical and biological), plasmonic micro and nano electromechanical devices, medical micro systems and implantable micro devices for intra-body networks, reconfigurable radio frequency devices and systems, phase change material switches, 2D material enabled micro and nano mechanical devices.
The research in Dr. Rinaldi’s group is supported by several Federal grants (including DARPA, NSF, DHS) and the Keck foundation.
Dr. Rinaldi has co-authored more than 70 publications in the aforementioned research areas and also holds 2 patents and more than 10 device patent applications in the field of MEMS/NEMS.
Dr. Rinaldi was the recipient of the IEEE Sensors Council Early Career Award in 2015, the NSF CA-REER Award in 2014 and the DARPA Young Faculty Award class of 2012. He received the Best Student Paper Award at the 2009, 2011 and 2015 (with his student) IEEE International Frequency Control Symposiums and the Outstanding Paper Award at the 18th International Conference on Solid-State Sensors, Actuators and Microsystems, Transducers 2015 (with his student).

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