Micromachines2015, 6(3), 312-327; doi:10.3390/mi6030312 (registering DOI) - published 27 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The objective of this study is to develop and analyze a nonlinear suspended energy harvester (NSEH) that can be mounted on a rotating wheel. The device comprises a permanent magnet as a mass in the kinetic system, two springs, and two coil sets. The mass vibrates along the transverse direction because of the variations in gravitational force. This research establishes nonlinear vibration equations based on the resonance frequency variation of the energy harvester; these equations are used for analyzing the power generation and vibration of the harvester. The kinetic behaviors can be determined according to the stiffness in the two directions of the two suspended springs. Electromagnetic damping is examined to estimate the power output and effect of the kinematic behaviors on NSEH. The power output of the NSEH with a 52 Ω resistor connected in series ranged from approximately 30 to 4200 μW at wheel speeds that ranged from nearly 200 to 900 rpm.
Micromachines2015, 6(3), 291-311; doi:10.3390/mi6030291 (registering DOI) - published 27 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Severely disabled people, like completely paralyzed persons either with tetraplegia or similar disabilities who cannot use their arms and hands, are often considered as a user group of Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI). In order to achieve high acceptance of the BCI by this user group and their supporters, the BCI system has to be integrated into their support infrastructure. Critical disadvantages of a BCI are the time consuming preparation of the user for the electroencephalography (EEG) measurements and the low information transfer rate of EEG based BCI. These disadvantages become apparent if a BCI is used to control complex devices. In this paper, a hybrid BCI is described that enables research for a Human Machine Interface (HMI) that is optimally adapted to requirements of the user and the tasks to be carried out. The solution is based on the integration of a Steady-state visual evoked potential (SSVEP)-BCI, an Event-related (de)-synchronization (ERD/ERS)-BCI, an eye tracker, an environmental observation camera, and a new EEG head cap for wearing comfort and easy preparation. The design of the new fast multimodal BCI (called sBCI) system is described and first test results, obtained in experiments with six healthy subjects, are presented. The sBCI concept may also become useful for healthy people in cases where a “hands-free” handling of devices is necessary.
Micromachines2015, 6(2), 281-290; doi:10.3390/mi6020281 - published 16 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: We investigated the aluminum nitride etching process for MEMS resonators. The process is based on Cl2/BCl3/Ar gas chemistry in inductively coupled plasma system. The hard mask of SiO2 is used. The etching rate, selectivity, sidewall angle, bottom surface roughness and microtrench are studied as a function of the gas flow rate, bias power and chamber pressure. The relations among those parameters are reported and theoretical analyses are given. By optimizing the etching parameters, the bottom surface roughness of 1.98 nm and the sidewall angle of 83° were achieved. This etching process can meet the manufacturing requirements of aluminum nitride MEMS resonator.
Micromachines2015, 6(2), 266-280; doi:10.3390/mi6020266 - published 16 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In this paper, a novel approach for processing the outputs signal of the microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) gyroscopes was presented to reduce the bias drift and noise. The principle for the noise reduction was presented, and an optimal Kalman filter (KF) was designed by a steady-state filter gain obtained from the analysis of KF observability. In particular, the true angular rate signal was directly modeled to obtain an optimal estimate and make a self-compensation for the gyroscope without needing other sensor’s information, whether in static or dynamic condition. A linear fit equation that describes the relationship between the KF bandwidth and modeling parameter of true angular rate was derived from the analysis of KF frequency response. The test results indicated that the MEMS gyroscope having an ARW noise of 4.87°/h0.5 and a bias instability of 44.41°/h were reduced to 0.4°/h0.5 and 4.13°/h by the KF under a given bandwidth (10 Hz), respectively. The 1σ estimated error was reduced from 1.9°/s to 0.14°/s and 1.7°/s to 0.5°/s in the constant rate test and swing rate test, respectively. It also showed that the filtered angular rate signal could well reflect the dynamic characteristic of the input rate signal in dynamic conditions. The presented algorithm is proved to be effective at improving the measurement precision of the MEMS gyroscope.
Micromachines2015, 6(2), 252-265; doi:10.3390/mi6020252 - published 9 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In combination with tapered-trench-etching of Si and SU-8 photoresist, a grayscale mask for deep X-ray lithography was fabricated and passed a 10-times-exposure test. The performance of the X-ray grayscale mask was evaluated using the TERAS synchrotron radiation facility at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST). Although the SU-8 before photo-curing has been evaluated as a negative-tone photoresist for ultraviolet (UV) and X-ray lithographies, the characteristic of the SU-8 after photo-curing has not been investigated. A polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) sheet was irradiated by a synchrotron radiation through an X-ray mask, and relationships between the dose energy and exposure depth, and between the dose energy and dimensional transition, were investigated. Using such a technique, the shape of a 26-μm-high Si absorber was transformed into the shape of a PMMA microneedle with a height of 76 μm, and done with a high contrast. Although during the fabrication process of the X-ray mask a 100-μm-pattern-pitch (by design) was enlarged to 120 μm. However, with an increase in an integrated dose energy this number decreased to 99 μm. These results show that the X-ray grayscale mask has many practical applications. In this paper, the author reports on the evaluation results of SU-8 when used as a membrane material for an X-ray mask.
Micromachines2015, 6(2), 239-251; doi:10.3390/mi6020239 - published 6 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In the past decade a large amount of analysis techniques have been scaled down to the microfluidic level. However, in many cases the necessary sample preparation, such as separation, mixing and concentration, remains to be performed off-chip. This represents a major hurdle for the introduction of miniaturized sample-in/answer-out systems, preventing the exploitation of microfluidic’s potential for small, rapid and accurate diagnostic products. New flow engineering methods are required to address this hitherto insufficiently studied aspect. One microfluidic tool that can be used to miniaturize and integrate sample preparation procedures are microvortices. They have been successfully applied as microcentrifuges, mixers, particle separators, to name but a few. In this work, we utilize a novel corner structure at a sudden channel expansion of a microfluidic chip to enhance the formation of a microvortex. For a maximum area of the microvortex, both chip geometry and corner structure were optimized with a computational fluid dynamic (CFD) model. Fluorescent particle trace measurements with the optimized design prove that the corner structure increases the size of the vortex. Furthermore, vortices are induced by the corner structure at low flow rates while no recirculation is observed without a corner structure. Finally, successful separation of plasma from human blood was accomplished, demonstrating a potential application for clinical sample preparation. The extracted plasma was characterized by a flow cytometer and compared to plasma obtained from a standard benchtop centrifuge and from chips without a corner structure.