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Micromachines, Volume 11, Issue 5 (May 2020) – 88 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Gathering precise information on the mass density, size, and weight of cells or cell aggregates is [...] Read more.
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Hemispherical Microelectrode Array for Ex Vivo Retinal Neural Recording
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 538; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050538 - 25 May 2020
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Abstract
To investigate the neuronal visual encoding process in the retina, researchers have performed in vitro and ex vivo electrophysiological experiments using animal retinal tissues. The microelectrode array (MEA) has become a key component in retinal experiments because it enables simultaneous neural recording from [...] Read more.
To investigate the neuronal visual encoding process in the retina, researchers have performed in vitro and ex vivo electrophysiological experiments using animal retinal tissues. The microelectrode array (MEA) has become a key component in retinal experiments because it enables simultaneous neural recording from a population of retinal neurons. However, in most retinal experiments, it is inevitable that the retinal tissue is flattened on the planar MEA, becoming deformed from the original hemispherical shape. During the tissue deforming process, the retina is subjected to mechanical stress, which can induce abnormal physiological conditions. To overcome this problem, in this study, we propose a hemispherical MEA with a curvature that allows retinal tissues to adhere closely to electrodes without tissue deformation. The electrode array is fabricated by stretching a thin, flexible polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) electrode layer onto a hemispherical substrate. To form micro patterns of electrodes, laser processing is employed instead of conventional thin-film microfabrication processes. The feasibility for neural recording from retinal tissues using this array is shown by conducting ex vivo retinal experiments. We anticipate that the proposed techniques for hemispherical MEAs can be utilized not only for ex vivo retinal studies but also for various flexible electronics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro/Nanofabrication for Retinal Implants)
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Open AccessArticle
Adaptive Tracking Control for the Piezoelectric Actuated Stage Using the Krasnosel’skii-Pokrovskii Operator
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 537; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050537 - 25 May 2020
Viewed by 208
Abstract
In this paper, a discrete second order linear equation with the Krasnosel’skii-Pokrovskii (KP) operator is used to describe the piezoelectric actuated stage. The weights of the KP operators are identified by the gradient descent algorithm. To suppress the hysteresis nonlinearity of the piezoelectric [...] Read more.
In this paper, a discrete second order linear equation with the Krasnosel’skii-Pokrovskii (KP) operator is used to describe the piezoelectric actuated stage. The weights of the KP operators are identified by the gradient descent algorithm. To suppress the hysteresis nonlinearity of the piezoelectric actuated stage, this paper proposes an adaptive tracking control with the hysteresis decomposition on the designed error surface. The proposed adaptive tracking controller dispenses with any form of the feed-forward hysteresis compensation and the unknown parameters of the discrete second order linear equation are adaptively adjusted. Some simulations are implemented to verify the effectiveness of the KP operators, then a series of modeling and control experiments are carried out on the piezoelectric actuated stages experimental systems. The comparative experimental results verify the feasibility of the KP operators modeling method and the adaptive tracking control method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section E:Engineering and Technology)
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Open AccessArticle
Pharmacokinetic Analysis of Epithelial/Endothelial Cell Barriers in Microfluidic Bilayer Devices with an Air–Liquid Interface
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 536; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050536 - 25 May 2020
Viewed by 221
Abstract
As the range of applications of organs-on-chips is broadening, the evaluation of aerosol-based therapies using a lung-on-a-chip model has become an attractive approach. Inhalation therapies are not only minimally invasive but also provide optimal pharmacokinetic conditions for drug absorption. As drug development evolves, [...] Read more.
As the range of applications of organs-on-chips is broadening, the evaluation of aerosol-based therapies using a lung-on-a-chip model has become an attractive approach. Inhalation therapies are not only minimally invasive but also provide optimal pharmacokinetic conditions for drug absorption. As drug development evolves, it is likely that better screening through use of organs-on-chips can significantly save time and cost. In this work, bio-aerosols of various compounds including insulin were generated using a jet nebulizer. The aerosol flows were driven through microfluidic bilayer devices establishing an air–liquid interface to mimic the blood–air barrier in human small airways. The aerosol flow in the microfluidic devices has been characterized and adjusted to closely match physiological values. The permeability of several compounds, including paracellular and transcellular biomarkers, across epithelial/endothelial cell barriers was measured. Concentration–time plots were established in microfluidic devices with and without cells; the curves were then utilized to extract standard pharmacokinetic parameters such as the area under the curve, maximum concentration, and time to maximum concentration. The cell barrier significantly affected the measured pharmacokinetic parameters, as compound absorption through the barrier decreases with its increasing molecular size. Aerosolizing insulin can lead to the formation of fibrils, prior to its entry to the microfluidic device, with a substantially larger apparent molecular size effectively blocking its paracellular transport. The results demonstrate the advantage of using lung-on-a-chip for drug discovery with applications such as development of novel inhaled therapies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section E:Engineering and Technology)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Retinal Prosthetic Approaches to Enhance Visual Perception for Blind Patients
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 535; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050535 - 24 May 2020
Viewed by 291
Abstract
Retinal prostheses are implantable devices that aim to restore the vision of blind patients suffering from retinal degeneration, mainly by artificially stimulating the remaining retinal neurons. Some retinal prostheses have successfully reached the stage of clinical trials; however, these devices can only restore [...] Read more.
Retinal prostheses are implantable devices that aim to restore the vision of blind patients suffering from retinal degeneration, mainly by artificially stimulating the remaining retinal neurons. Some retinal prostheses have successfully reached the stage of clinical trials; however, these devices can only restore vision partially and remain insufficient to enable patients to conduct everyday life independently. The visual acuity of the artificial vision is limited by various factors from both engineering and physiological perspectives. To overcome those issues and further enhance the visual resolution of retinal prostheses, a variety of retinal prosthetic approaches have been proposed, based on optimization of the geometries of electrode arrays and stimulation pulse parameters. Other retinal stimulation modalities such as optics, ultrasound, and magnetics have also been utilized to address the limitations in conventional electrical stimulation. Although none of these approaches have been clinically proven to fully restore the function of a degenerated retina, the extensive efforts made in this field have demonstrated a series of encouraging findings for the next generation of retinal prostheses, and these could potentially enhance the visual acuity of retinal prostheses. In this article, a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of retinal prosthetic strategies is provided, with a specific focus on a quantitative assessment of visual acuity results from various retinal stimulation technologies. The aim is to highlight future directions toward high-resolution retinal prostheses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro/Nanofabrication for Retinal Implants)
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Open AccessArticle
High-Speed Manipulation of Microobjects Using an Automated Two-Fingered Microhand for 3D Microassembly
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 534; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050534 - 24 May 2020
Viewed by 202
Abstract
To assemble microobjects including biological cells quickly and precisely, a fully automated pick-and-place operation is applied. In micromanipulation in liquid, the challenges include strong adhesion forces and high dynamic viscosity. To solve these problems, a reliable manipulation system and special releasing techniques are [...] Read more.
To assemble microobjects including biological cells quickly and precisely, a fully automated pick-and-place operation is applied. In micromanipulation in liquid, the challenges include strong adhesion forces and high dynamic viscosity. To solve these problems, a reliable manipulation system and special releasing techniques are indispensable. A microhand having dexterous motion is utilized to grasp an object stably, and an automated stage transports the object quickly. To detach the object adhered to one of the end effectors, two releasing methods—local stream and a dynamic releasing—are utilized. A system using vision-based techniques for the recognition of two fingertips and an object, as well automated releasing methods, can increase the manipulation speed to faster than 800 ms/sphere with a 100% success rate (N = 100). To extend this manipulation technique, 2D and 3D assembly that manipulates several objects is attained by compensating the positional error. Finally, we succeed in assembling 80–120 µm of microbeads and spheroids integrated by NIH3T3 cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microrobotics for Biological, Biomedical, and Surgical Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Protein Dielectrophoresis: I. Status of Experiments and an Empirical Theory
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 533; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050533 - 22 May 2020
Viewed by 288
Abstract
The dielectrophoresis (DEP) data reported in the literature since 1994 for 22 different globular proteins is examined in detail. Apart from three cases, all of the reported protein DEP experiments employed a gradient field factor E m 2 that is much smaller [...] Read more.
The dielectrophoresis (DEP) data reported in the literature since 1994 for 22 different globular proteins is examined in detail. Apart from three cases, all of the reported protein DEP experiments employed a gradient field factor E m 2 that is much smaller (in some instances by many orders of magnitude) than the ~4 × 1021 V2/m3 required, according to current DEP theory, to overcome the dispersive forces associated with Brownian motion. This failing results from the macroscopic Clausius–Mossotti (CM) factor being restricted to the range 1.0 > CM > −0.5. Current DEP theory precludes the protein’s permanent dipole moment (rather than the induced moment) from contributing to the DEP force. Based on the magnitude of the β-dispersion exhibited by globular proteins in the frequency range 1 kHz–50 MHz, an empirically derived molecular version of CM is obtained. This factor varies greatly in magnitude from protein to protein (e.g., ~37,000 for carboxypeptidase; ~190 for phospholipase) and when incorporated into the basic expression for the DEP force brings most of the reported protein DEP above the minimum required to overcome dispersive Brownian thermal effects. We believe this empirically-derived finding validates the theories currently being advanced by Matyushov and co-workers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micromachines for Dielectrophoresis)
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Open AccessArticle
Development of a Multi-Material Stereolithography 3D Printing Device
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 532; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050532 - 22 May 2020
Viewed by 272
Abstract
Additive manufacturing, or nowadays more popularly entitled as 3D printing, enables a fast realization of polymer, metal, ceramic or composite devices, which often cannot be fabricated with conventional methods. One critical issue for a continuation of this success story is the generation of [...] Read more.
Additive manufacturing, or nowadays more popularly entitled as 3D printing, enables a fast realization of polymer, metal, ceramic or composite devices, which often cannot be fabricated with conventional methods. One critical issue for a continuation of this success story is the generation of multi-material devices. Whilst in fused filament fabrication or 3D InkJet printing, commercial solutions have been realized, in stereolithography only very few attempts have been seen. In this work, a comprehensive approach, covering the construction, material development, software control and multi-material printing is presented for the fabrication of structural details in the micrometer range. The work concludes with a critical evaluation and possible improvements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section E:Engineering and Technology)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
A Review on Microdevices for Isolating Circulating Tumor Cells
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 531; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050531 (registering DOI) - 22 May 2020
Viewed by 259
Abstract
Cancer metastasis is the primary cause of high mortality of cancer patients. Enumeration of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the bloodstream is a very important indicator to estimate the therapeutic outcome in various metastatic cancers. The aim of this article is to review [...] Read more.
Cancer metastasis is the primary cause of high mortality of cancer patients. Enumeration of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the bloodstream is a very important indicator to estimate the therapeutic outcome in various metastatic cancers. The aim of this article is to review recent developments on the CTC isolation technologies in microdevices. Based on the categories of biochemical and biophysical isolation approaches, a literature review and in-depth discussion will be included to provide an overview of this challenging topic. The current excellent developments suggest promising CTC isolation methods in order to establish a precise indicator of the therapeutic outcome of cancer patients. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Recent Advances in Electrochemiluminescence-Based Systems for Mammalian Cell Analysis
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 530; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050530 - 22 May 2020
Viewed by 250
Abstract
Mammalian cell analysis is essential in the context of both fundamental studies and clinical applications. Among the various techniques available for cell analysis, electrochemiluminescence (ECL) has attracted significant attention due to its integration of both electrochemical and spectroscopic methods. In this review, we [...] Read more.
Mammalian cell analysis is essential in the context of both fundamental studies and clinical applications. Among the various techniques available for cell analysis, electrochemiluminescence (ECL) has attracted significant attention due to its integration of both electrochemical and spectroscopic methods. In this review, we summarize recent advances in the ECL-based systems developed for mammalian cell analysis. The review begins with a summary of the developments in luminophores that opened the door to ECL applications for biological samples. Secondly, ECL-based imaging systems are introduced as an emerging technique to visualize single-cell morphologies and intracellular molecules. In the subsequent section, the ECL sensors developed in the past decade are summarized, the use of which made the highly sensitive detection of cell-derived molecules possible. Although ECL immunoassays are well developed in terms of commercial use, the sensing of biomolecules at a single-cell level remains a challenge. Emphasis is therefore placed on ECL sensors that directly detect cellular molecules from small portions of cells or even single cells. Finally, the development of bipolar electrode devices for ECL cell assays is introduced. To conclude, the direction of research in this field and its application prospects are described. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro and Nano Devices for Cell Analysis)
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Open AccessArticle
Investigation on the Stability of Random Vortices in an Ion Concentration Polarization Layer with Imposed Normal Fluid Flow
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 529; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050529 - 22 May 2020
Viewed by 221
Abstract
While nanoscale electrokinetic studies based on ion concentration polarization has been actively researched recently, random vortices naturally occur, leading to significantly destabilize in laboratory experiments or practical applications. These random vortices agitate the fluid inside microchannels and let the sample molecules seriously leak [...] Read more.
While nanoscale electrokinetic studies based on ion concentration polarization has been actively researched recently, random vortices naturally occur, leading to significantly destabilize in laboratory experiments or practical applications. These random vortices agitate the fluid inside microchannels and let the sample molecules seriously leak out preventing them from being controlled. Therefore, several trials have been reported to regulate those uninvited fluctuations by fluid flow tangential to a nanoporous membrane. Indeed, the influence of normal flow should be studied since the mass transport happens in the normal direction to the membrane. Thus, in this work, the nonlinear influence of normal flow to the instability near ion-selective surface was investigated by fully-coupled direct numerical simulation using COMSOL Multiphysics. The investigation on the effect of normal flow revealed that a space charge layer plays a significant role in the onset and growth of instability. The normal flow from the reservoir into the ion-selective surface pushed the space charge layer and decreased the size of vortices. However, there existed a maximum point for the growth of instability. The squeeze of the space charge layer increased the gradient of ion concentration in the layer, which resulted in escalating the velocity of vortices. On the other hand, the normal flow from the ion-selective surface into the reservoir suppressed the instability by spreading ions in the expanding space charge layer, leading to the reduction of ion concentration delayed the onset of instability. These two different mechanisms rendered asymmetric transition of stability as a function of the Peclet number and applied voltage. Therefore, this investigation would help understand the growth of instability and control the inevitable random vortices for the inhibition of fluid-agitation and leakage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electrokinetics in Micro-/nanofluidic Devices)
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Open AccessArticle
Study on Electrical Explosion Properties of Cu/Ni Multilayer Exploding Foil Prepared by Magnetron Sputtering and Electroplating
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 528; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050528 - 22 May 2020
Viewed by 218
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of the microstructure and properties of Cu/Ni multilayer films prepared by magnetron sputtering and electroplating on the electrical explosion performance of the films. In this study, Cu/Ni multilayer films of the same thickness [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of the microstructure and properties of Cu/Ni multilayer films prepared by magnetron sputtering and electroplating on the electrical explosion performance of the films. In this study, Cu/Ni multilayer films of the same thickness were prepared by electroplating (EP) and magnetron sputtering (MS), and their morphology and crystal structure were characterized by scanning electron microscope (SEM) and transmission electron microscope (TEM). XRD was used to observe the crystal structure and size of the samples. In addition, the Cu/Ni multilayer film was etched into the shape of a bridge, and the electric explosion phenomenon in the same discharge circuit of the multilayer foil obtained by the two preparation processes was tested by an electric explosion performance test system. The resistance–time curve and the energy–resistance curve during the electric explosion process were analyzed and calculated. The results showed that compared with the multilayer film prepared by the MS method, the crystal size of the multilayer film prepared by the EP method is smaller and the interface of Cu/Ni is clearer. In the electric explosion experiment, the MS samples had earlier burst times, larger peak resistances, smaller peak energies and higher ionization voltages. Through observation of the morphology of the samples after the electric explosion and combination with gas ionization theory, the internal influencing factors of the peak voltage and the relative resistance of the two samples were analyzed. The influence of the multilayer film mixing layer thickness on the sample energy conversion efficiency was analyzed by modeling the microstructure of the multilayer film exploding foil and electric heating. The results show that the thicker the mixing layer is, the more energy is distributed on the Ni, the faster the resistance increases, and the higher the energy conversion efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Miniaturized Pyro Devices)
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Open AccessArticle
Direct Write of 3D Nanoscale Mesh Objects with Platinum Precursor via Focused Helium Ion Beam Induced Deposition
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 527; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050527 - 22 May 2020
Viewed by 261
Abstract
The next generation optical, electronic, biological, and sensing devices as well as platforms will inevitably extend their architecture into the 3rd dimension to enhance functionality. In focused ion beam induced deposition (FIBID), a helium gas field ion source can be used with an [...] Read more.
The next generation optical, electronic, biological, and sensing devices as well as platforms will inevitably extend their architecture into the 3rd dimension to enhance functionality. In focused ion beam induced deposition (FIBID), a helium gas field ion source can be used with an organometallic precursor gas to fabricate nanoscale structures in 3D with high-precision and smaller critical dimensions than focused electron beam induced deposition (FEBID), traditional liquid metal source FIBID, or other additive manufacturing technology. In this work, we report the effect of beam current, dwell time, and pixel pitch on the resultant segment and angle growth for nanoscale 3D mesh objects. We note subtle beam heating effects, which impact the segment angle and the feature size. Additionally, we investigate the competition of material deposition and sputtering during the 3D FIBID process, with helium ion microscopy experiments and Monte Carlo simulations. Our results show complex 3D mesh structures measuring ~300 nm in the largest dimension, with individual features as small as 16 nm at full width half maximum (FWHM). These assemblies can be completed in minutes, with the underlying fabrication technology compatible with existing lithographic techniques, suggesting a higher-throughput pathway to integrating FIBID with established nanofabrication techniques. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanofabrication with Focused Electron/Ion Beam Induced Processing)
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Open AccessArticle
Development of a Portable SPR Sensor for Nucleic Acid Detection
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 526; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050526 - 21 May 2020
Viewed by 261
Abstract
Nucleic acid detection is of great significance in clinical diagnosis, environmental monitoring and food safety. Compared with the traditional nucleic acid amplification detection method, surface plasmon resonance (SPR) sensing technology has the advantages of being label-free, having simple operation, and providing real-time detection. [...] Read more.
Nucleic acid detection is of great significance in clinical diagnosis, environmental monitoring and food safety. Compared with the traditional nucleic acid amplification detection method, surface plasmon resonance (SPR) sensing technology has the advantages of being label-free, having simple operation, and providing real-time detection. However, the angle scanning system in many SPR angle modulation detection applications usually requires a high-resolution stepper motor and complex mechanical structure to adjust the angle. In this paper, a portable multi-angle scanning SPR sensor was designed. The sensor only uses one stepping motor to rotate a belt, and the belt pulls the mechanical linkages of incident light and reflected light to move in opposite directions for achieving the SPR angle scanning mode that keeps the incident angle and reflected angle equal. The sensor has an angle scanning accuracy of 0.002°, response sensitivity of 3.72 × 10−6 RIU (refractive index unit), and an angle scanning range of 30°–74°. The overall size of the system is only 480 mm × 150 mm × 180 mm. The portable SPR sensor was used to detect nucleic acid hybridization on a gold film chip modified with bovine serum albumin (BSA). The result revealed that the sensor had high sensitivity and fast response, and could successfully accomplish the hybridization detection of target DNA solution of 0.01 μmol/mL. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microfluidics for Nucleic Acid Analysis)
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Open AccessArticle
Investigation on Threshold Voltage Adjustment of Threshold Switching Devices with HfO2/Al2O3 Superlattice on Transparent ITO/Glass Substrate
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 525; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050525 - 21 May 2020
Viewed by 244
Abstract
Threshold voltage adjustment in threshold switching (TS) devices with HfO2/Al2O3 superlattice (by means of changing the cycle ratio of HfO2 to Al2O3 in atomic layer deposition) is investigated to implement a transparent cross-point array. [...] Read more.
Threshold voltage adjustment in threshold switching (TS) devices with HfO2/Al2O3 superlattice (by means of changing the cycle ratio of HfO2 to Al2O3 in atomic layer deposition) is investigated to implement a transparent cross-point array. TS devices with different cycle ratios (i.e., 3:1, 3:2, and 3:3) were fabricated and studied. The threshold voltage of the devices was increased from 0.9 V to 3.2 V, as the relative contents of Al2O3 layer in the superlattice were increased. At the same time, it is demonstrated that the off-resistance values of the devices were enhanced from 2.6 × 109 to 6 × 1010 Ω as the atomic layer deposition (ALD) cycle ratio of HfO2 to Al2O3 layer was adjusted from 3:1 to 3:3. However, the hold voltage and the on-current values were almost identical for the three devices. These results can be understood using the larger barrier height of Al2O3 layer than that of HfO2 layer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Deformable Bioelectronics Based on Functional Micro/nanomaterials)
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Open AccessArticle
PIN-PMN-PT Single Crystal 1-3 Composite-based 20 MHz Ultrasound Phased Array
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 524; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050524 - 21 May 2020
Viewed by 212
Abstract
Based on a modified dice-and-fill technique, a PIN-PMN-PT single crystal 1-3 composite with the kerf of 12 μm and pitch of 50 μm was prepared. The as-made piezoelectric composite material behaved with high piezoelectric constant (d33 = 1500 pC/N), high electromechanical coefficient [...] Read more.
Based on a modified dice-and-fill technique, a PIN-PMN-PT single crystal 1-3 composite with the kerf of 12 μm and pitch of 50 μm was prepared. The as-made piezoelectric composite material behaved with high piezoelectric constant (d33 = 1500 pC/N), high electromechanical coefficient (kt = 0.81), and low acoustic impedance (16.2 Mrayls). Using lithography and flexible circuit method, a 48-element phased array was successfully fabricated from such a piezoelectric composite. The array element was measured to have a central frequency of 20 MHz and a fractional bandwidth of approximately 77% at −6 dB. Of particular significance was that this PIN-PMN-PT single crystal 1-3 composite-based phased array exhibits a superior insertion loss compared with PMN-PT single crystal and PZT-5H-based 20 MHz phased arrays. The focusing and steering capabilities of the obtained phased array were demonstrated theoretically and experimentally. These promising results indicate that the PIN-PMN-PT single crystal 1-3 composite-based high frequency phased array is a good candidate for ultrasound imaging applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Piezoelectric Transducers: Materials, Devices and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Magnetostrictive Performance of Electrodeposited TbxDy(1−x)Fey Thin Film with Microcantilever Structures
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 523; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050523 - 21 May 2020
Viewed by 207
Abstract
The microfabrication with a magnetostrictive TbxDy(1−x)Fey thin film for magnetic microactuators is developed, and the magnetic and magnetostrictive actuation performances of the deposited thin film are evaluated. The magnetostrictive thin film of TbxDy(1−x)Fey [...] Read more.
The microfabrication with a magnetostrictive TbxDy(1−x)Fey thin film for magnetic microactuators is developed, and the magnetic and magnetostrictive actuation performances of the deposited thin film are evaluated. The magnetostrictive thin film of TbxDy(1−x)Fey is deposited on a metal seed layer by electrodeposition using a potentiostat in an aqueous solution. Bi-material cantilever structures with the Tb0.36Dy0.64Fe1.9 thin-film are fabricated using microfabrication, and the magnetic actuation performances are evaluated under the application of a magnetic field. The actuators show large magnetostriction coefficients of approximately 1250 ppm at a magnetic field of 11000 Oe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section D:Materials and Processing)
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Open AccessArticle
Mechanically Enabled Two-Axis Ultrasonic-Assisted System for Ultra-Precision Machining
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 522; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050522 - 20 May 2020
Viewed by 279
Abstract
With the use of ultrasonic-assisted diamond cutting, an optical surface finish can be achieved on hardened steel or even brittle materials such as glass and infrared materials. The proposed ultrasonic vibration cutting system includes an ultrasonic generator, horn, transducer, cutting tool and the [...] Read more.
With the use of ultrasonic-assisted diamond cutting, an optical surface finish can be achieved on hardened steel or even brittle materials such as glass and infrared materials. The proposed ultrasonic vibration cutting system includes an ultrasonic generator, horn, transducer, cutting tool and the fixture. This study is focused on the design of the ultrasonic vibration cutting system with a high vibration frequency and an optimized amplitude for hard and brittle materials, particularly for moulded steel. A two-dimensional vibration design is developed by means of the finite element analysis (FEA) model. A prototype of the system is manufactured for the test bench. An elliptical trajectory is created from this vibration system with amplitudes of micrometers in two directions. The optimization strategy is presented for the application development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultra Precision Technologies for Micromachining)
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Open AccessArticle
Route to Intelligent Imaging Reconstruction via Terahertz Nonlinear Ghost Imaging
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 521; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050521 - 20 May 2020
Viewed by 330
Abstract
Terahertz (THz) imaging is a rapidly emerging field, thanks to many potential applications in diagnostics, manufacturing, medicine and material characterisation. However, the relatively coarse resolution stemming from the large wavelength limits the deployment of THz imaging in micro- and nano-technologies, keeping its potential [...] Read more.
Terahertz (THz) imaging is a rapidly emerging field, thanks to many potential applications in diagnostics, manufacturing, medicine and material characterisation. However, the relatively coarse resolution stemming from the large wavelength limits the deployment of THz imaging in micro- and nano-technologies, keeping its potential benefits out-of-reach in many practical scenarios and devices. In this context, single-pixel techniques are a promising alternative to imaging arrays, in particular when targeting subwavelength resolutions. In this work, we discuss the key advantages and practical challenges in the implementation of time-resolved nonlinear ghost imaging (TIMING), an imaging technique combining nonlinear THz generation with time-resolved time-domain spectroscopy detection. We numerically demonstrate the high-resolution reconstruction of semi-transparent samples, and we show how the Walsh–Hadamard reconstruction scheme can be optimised to significantly reduce the reconstruction time. We also discuss how, in sharp contrast with traditional intensity-based ghost imaging, the field detection at the heart of TIMING enables high-fidelity image reconstruction via low numerical-aperture detection. Even more striking—and to the best of our knowledge, an issue never tackled before—the general concept of “resolution” of the imaging system as the “smallest feature discernible” appears to be not well suited to describing the fidelity limits of nonlinear ghost-imaging systems. Our results suggest that the drop in reconstruction accuracy stemming from non-ideal detection conditions is complex and not driven by the attenuation of high-frequency spatial components (i.e., blurring) as in standard imaging. On the technological side, we further show how achieving efficient optical-to-terahertz conversion in extremely short propagation lengths is crucial regarding imaging performance, and we propose low-bandgap semiconductors as a practical framework to obtain THz emission from quasi-2D structures, i.e., structure in which the interaction occurs on a deeply subwavelength scale. Our results establish a comprehensive theoretical and experimental framework for the development of a new generation of terahertz hyperspectral imaging devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nonlinear Photonics Devices)
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Open AccessArticle
Performance and Accuracy of the Shifted Laser Surface Texturing Method
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 520; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050520 - 20 May 2020
Viewed by 254
Abstract
A shifted laser surface texturing method (sLST) was developed for the improvement of the production speed of functional surface textures to enable their industrial applicability. This paper compares the shifted method to classic methods using a practical texturing example, with a focus on [...] Read more.
A shifted laser surface texturing method (sLST) was developed for the improvement of the production speed of functional surface textures to enable their industrial applicability. This paper compares the shifted method to classic methods using a practical texturing example, with a focus on delivering the highest processing speed. The accuracy of the texture is assessed by size and circularity measurements with the use of LabIR paint and by a depth profile measurement using a contact surface profiler. The heat accumulation temperature increase and laser usage efficiency were also calculated. The classic methods (path filling and hatch) performed well (deviation ≤ 5%) up to a certain scanning speed (0.15 and 0.7 m/s). For the shifted method, no scanning speed limit was identified within the maximum of the system (8 m/s). The depth profile shapes showed similar deviations (6% to 10%) for all methods. The shifted method in its burst variant achieved the highest processing speed (11 times faster, 146 mm2/min). The shifted method in its path filling variant achieved the highest processing efficiency per needed laser power (64 mm2/(min·W)), lowest heat accumulation temperature increase (3 K) and highest laser usage efficiency (99%). The advantages of the combination of the shifted method with GHz burst machining and the multispot approach were described. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Techniques for Ultrafast Laser Nano/Micro Patterning)
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Open AccessReview
Vertical GaN-on-GaN Schottky Diodes as α-Particle Radiation Sensors
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 519; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050519 - 20 May 2020
Viewed by 272
Abstract
Among the different semiconductors, GaN provides advantages over Si, SiC and GaAs in radiation hardness, resulting in researchers exploring the development of GaN-based radiation sensors to be used in particle physics, astronomic and nuclear science applications. Several reports have demonstrated the usefulness of [...] Read more.
Among the different semiconductors, GaN provides advantages over Si, SiC and GaAs in radiation hardness, resulting in researchers exploring the development of GaN-based radiation sensors to be used in particle physics, astronomic and nuclear science applications. Several reports have demonstrated the usefulness of GaN as an α-particle detector. Work in developing GaN-based radiation sensors are still evolving and GaN sensors have successfully detected α-particles, neutrons, ultraviolet rays, x-rays, electrons and γ-rays. This review elaborates on the design of a good radiation detector along with the state-of-the-art α-particle detectors using GaN. Successful improvement in the growth of GaN drift layers (DL) with 2 order of magnitude lower in charge carrier density (CCD) (7.6 × 1014/cm3) on low threading dislocation density (3.1 × 106/cm2) hydride vapor phase epitaxy (HVPE) grown free-standing GaN substrate, which helped ~3 orders of magnitude lower reverse leakage current (IR) with 3-times increase of reverse breakdown voltages. The highest reverse breakdown voltage of −2400 V was also realized from Schottky barrier diodes (SBDs) on a free-standing GaN substrate with 30 μm DL. The formation of thick depletion width (DW) with low CCD resulted in improving high-energy (5.48 MeV) α-particle detection with the charge collection efficiency (CCE) of 62% even at lower bias voltages (−20 V). The detectors also detected 5.48 MeV α-particle with CCE of 100% from SBDs with 30-μm DL at −750 V. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wide Bandgap Based Devices: Design, Fabrication and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
The Fabrication of Micro Beam from Photopolymer by Digital Light Processing 3D Printing Technology
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 518; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050518 - 20 May 2020
Viewed by 254
Abstract
3D printing has lately received considerable critical attention for the fast fabrication of 3D structures to be utilized in various industrial applications. This study aimed to fabricate a micro beam with digital light processing (DLP) based 3D printing technology. Compound technology and essential [...] Read more.
3D printing has lately received considerable critical attention for the fast fabrication of 3D structures to be utilized in various industrial applications. This study aimed to fabricate a micro beam with digital light processing (DLP) based 3D printing technology. Compound technology and essential coefficients of the 3D printing operation were applied. To observe the success of the DLP method, it was compared with another fabrication method, called projection micro-stereolithography (PμSL). Evaluation experiments showed that the 3D printer could print materials with smaller than 86.7 µm dimension properties. The micro beam that moves in one direction (y-axis) was designed using the determined criteria. Though the same design was used for the DLP and PμSL methods, the supporting structures were not manufactured with PμSL. The micro beam was fabricated by removing the supports from the original design in PμSL. Though 3 μm diameter supports could be produced with the DLP, it was not possible to fabricate them with PμSL. Besides, DLP was found to be better than PμSL for the fabrication of complex, non-symmetric support structures. The presented results in this study demonstrate the efficiency of 3D printing technology and the simplicity of manufacturing a micro beam using the DLP method with speed and high sensitivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Printing of MEMS Technology)
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Open AccessArticle
Bidirectional Linear Motion by Travelling Waves on Legged Piezoelectric Microfabricated Plates
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 517; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050517 - 20 May 2020
Viewed by 284
Abstract
This paper reports the design, fabrication and performance of MEMS-based piezoelectric bidirectional conveyors featuring 3D printed legs, driven by linear travelling waves (TW). The structures consisted of an aluminium–nitride (AlN) piezoelectric film on top of millimetre-sized rectangular thin silicon bridges and two electrode [...] Read more.
This paper reports the design, fabrication and performance of MEMS-based piezoelectric bidirectional conveyors featuring 3D printed legs, driven by linear travelling waves (TW). The structures consisted of an aluminium–nitride (AlN) piezoelectric film on top of millimetre-sized rectangular thin silicon bridges and two electrode patches. The position and size of the patches were analytically optimised for TW generation in three frequency ranges: 19, 112 and 420 kHz, by the proper combination of two contiguous flexural modes. After fabrication, the generated TW were characterized by means of Laser–Doppler vibrometry to obtain the relevant tables of merit, such as the standing wave ratio and the average amplitude. The experimental results agreed with the simulation, showing the generation of a TW with an amplitude as high as 6 nm/V and a standing wave ratio as low as 1.46 for a device working at 19.3 kHz. The applicability of the fabricated linear actuator device as a conveyor was investigated. Its kinetic performance was studied with sliders of different mass, being able to carry a 35 mg silicon slider, 18 times its weight, with 6 V of continuous sinusoidal excitation and a speed of 0.65 mm/s. A lighter slider, weighting only 3 mg, reached a mean speed of 1.7 mm/s at 6 V. In addition, by applying a burst sinusoidal excitation comprising 10 cycles, the TW generated in the bridge surface was able to move a 23 mg slider in discrete steps of 70 nm, in both directions, which is a promising result for a TW piezoelectric actuator of this size. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Piezoelectric Thin Film MEMS)
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Open AccessArticle
A Facile Preparation and Energetic Characteristics of the Core/Shell CoFe2O4/Al Nanowires Thermite Film
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 516; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050516 - 20 May 2020
Viewed by 293
Abstract
In this study, CoFe2O4 is selected for the first time to synthesize CoFe2O4/Al nanothermite films via an integration of nano-Al with CoFe2O4 nanowires (NWs), which can be prepared through a facile hydrothermal-annealing route. [...] Read more.
In this study, CoFe2O4 is selected for the first time to synthesize CoFe2O4/Al nanothermite films via an integration of nano-Al with CoFe2O4 nanowires (NWs), which can be prepared through a facile hydrothermal-annealing route. The resulting nanothermite film demonstrates a homogeneous structure and an intense contact between the Al and CoFe2O4 NWs at the nanoscale. In addition, both thermal analysis and laser ignition test reveal the superb energetic performances of the prepared CoFe2O4/Al NWs nanothermite film. Within different thicknesses of nano-Al for the CoFe2O4/Al NWs nanothermite films investigated here, the maximum heat output has reached as great as 2100 J·g−1 at the optimal thickness of 400 nm for deposited Al. Moreover, the fabrication strategy for CoFe2O4/Al NWs is also easy and suitable for diverse thermite systems based upon other composite metal oxides, such as MnCo2O4 and NiCo2O4. Importantly, this method has the featured advantages of simple operation and compatibility with microsystems, both of which may further facilitate potential applications for functional energetic chips. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Miniaturized Pyro Devices)
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Open AccessArticle
A Simple and Rapid Fungal DNA Isolation Assay Based on ZnO Nanoparticles for the Diagnosis of Invasive Aspergillosis
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 515; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050515 - 19 May 2020
Viewed by 279
Abstract
Invasive aspergillosis (IA) is an important cause of morbidity and mortality among immunocompromised people. Imaging and specimen tests used in the clinical diagnosis of aspergillosis with weak and indistinct defects leads to delay in the treatment of early aspergillosis patients. The developing molecular [...] Read more.
Invasive aspergillosis (IA) is an important cause of morbidity and mortality among immunocompromised people. Imaging and specimen tests used in the clinical diagnosis of aspergillosis with weak and indistinct defects leads to delay in the treatment of early aspergillosis patients. The developing molecular techniques provide a new method for the aspergillosis diagnosis. However, the existing methods are complex, time-consuming and may even be potentially hazardous. In this study, we developed a simple and rapid Aspergillus fumigatus spores DNA isolation assay using synthesized zinc oxide (ZnO). ZnO nanoparticles were used to take the place of the traditional commercial lysis buffer. The quality and quantity of the extracted DNA were sufficient for further diagnostics with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis. This method offers easy, green, and economic alternative DNA isolation for the diagnosis of invasive aspergillosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Diagnostic Devices and Clinical Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Label-Free, High-Throughput Assay of Human Dendritic Cells from Whole-Blood Samples with Microfluidic Inertial Separation Suitable for Resource-Limited Manufacturing
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 514; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050514 - 19 May 2020
Viewed by 221
Abstract
Microfluidics technology has not impacted the delivery and accessibility of point-of-care health services, like diagnosing infectious disease, monitoring health or delivering interventions. Most microfluidics prototypes in academic research are not easy to scale-up with industrial-scale fabrication techniques and cannot be operated without complex [...] Read more.
Microfluidics technology has not impacted the delivery and accessibility of point-of-care health services, like diagnosing infectious disease, monitoring health or delivering interventions. Most microfluidics prototypes in academic research are not easy to scale-up with industrial-scale fabrication techniques and cannot be operated without complex manipulations of supporting equipment and additives, such as labels or reagents. We propose a label- and reagent-free inertial spiral microfluidic device to separate red blood, white blood and dendritic cells from blood fluid, for applications in health monitoring and immunotherapy. We demonstrate that using larger channel widths, in the range of 200 to 600 µm, allows separation of cells into multiple focused streams, according to different size ranges, and we utilize a novel technique to collect the closely separated focused cell streams, without constricting the channel. Our contribution is a method to adapt spiral inertial microfluidic designs to separate more than two cell types in the same device, which is robust against clogging, simple to operate and suitable for fabrication and deployment in resource-limited populations. When tested on actual human blood cells, 77% of dendritic cells were separated and 80% of cells remained viable after our assay. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microfluidics Technologies for Cell-based Assays)
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Open AccessReview
Determination of Dielectric Properties of Cells using AC Electrokinetic-based Microfluidic Platform: A Review of Recent Advances
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 513; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050513 - 19 May 2020
Viewed by 232
Abstract
Cell dielectric properties, a type of intrinsic property of cells, can be used as electrophysiological biomarkers that offer a label-free way to characterize cell phenotypes and states, purify clinical samples, and identify target cancer cells. Here, we present a review of the determination [...] Read more.
Cell dielectric properties, a type of intrinsic property of cells, can be used as electrophysiological biomarkers that offer a label-free way to characterize cell phenotypes and states, purify clinical samples, and identify target cancer cells. Here, we present a review of the determination of cell dielectric properties using alternating current (AC) electrokinetic-based microfluidic mechanisms, including electro-rotation (ROT) and dielectrophoresis (DEP). The review covers theoretically how ROT and DEP work to extract cell dielectric properties. We also dive into the details of differently structured ROT chips, followed by a discussion on the determination of cell dielectric properties and the use of these properties in bio-related applications. Additionally, the review offers a look at the future challenges facing the AC electrokinetic-based microfluidic platform in terms of acquiring cell dielectric parameters. Our conclusion is that this platform will bring biomedical and bioengineering sciences to the next level and ultimately achieve the shift from lab-oriented research to real-world applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electrokinetics in Micro-/nanofluidic Devices)
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Open AccessArticle
Micromachining of High Quality PMN–31%PT Single Crystals for High-Frequency (>20 MHz) Ultrasonic Array Transducer Applications
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 512; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050512 - 19 May 2020
Viewed by 325
Abstract
A decrease of piezoelectric properties in the fabrication of ultra-small Pb(Mg1/3Nb2/3)–x%PbTiO3 (PMN–x%PT) for high-frequency (>20 MHz) ultrasonic array transducers remains an urgent problem. Here, PMN–31%PT with micron-sized kerfs and high piezoelectric performance was micromachined using [...] Read more.
A decrease of piezoelectric properties in the fabrication of ultra-small Pb(Mg1/3Nb2/3)–x%PbTiO3 (PMN–x%PT) for high-frequency (>20 MHz) ultrasonic array transducers remains an urgent problem. Here, PMN–31%PT with micron-sized kerfs and high piezoelectric performance was micromachined using a 355 nm laser. We studied the kerf profile as a function of laser parameters, revealing that micron-sized kerfs with designated profiles and fewer micro-cracks can be obtained by optimizing the laser parameters. The domain morphology of micromachined PMN–31%PT was thoroughly analyzed to validate the superior piezoelectric performance maintained near the kerfs. A high piezoresponse of the samples after micromachining was also successfully demonstrated by determining the effective piezoelectric coefficient (d33*~1200 pm/V). Our results are promising for fabricating superior PMN–31%PT and other piezoelectric high-frequency (>20 MHz) ultrasonic array transducers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pulsed Laser Micromachining)
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Open AccessArticle
AC/DC Fields Demodulation Methods of Resonant Electric Field Microsensor
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 511; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050511 - 19 May 2020
Viewed by 234
Abstract
Electric field microsensors have the advantages of a small size, a low power consumption, of avoiding wear, and of measuring both direct-current (DC) and alternating-current (AC) fields, which are especially suited to applications in power systems. However, previous reports were chiefly concerned with [...] Read more.
Electric field microsensors have the advantages of a small size, a low power consumption, of avoiding wear, and of measuring both direct-current (DC) and alternating-current (AC) fields, which are especially suited to applications in power systems. However, previous reports were chiefly concerned with proposing new structures or improving the resolution, and there are no systematic studies on the signal characteristics of the microsensor output and the demodulation methods under different electric fields. In this paper, the use of an improved resonant microsensor with coplanar electrodes, and the signal characteristics under a DC field, power frequency field, and AC/DC hybrid fields were thoroughly analyzed respectively, and matching demodulation methods derived from synchronous detection were proposed. We theoretically obtained that the frequencies of the detectable electric fields should be less than half of the resonant frequency of the microsensor, and that the sensitivities of the microsensor were identical for AC/DC hybrid fields with different frequencies. Experiments were conducted to verify the proposed demodulation methods. Within electric field ranges of 0–667 kV/m, the uncertainties were 2.4% and 1.5% for the most common DC and 50 Hz power frequency fields, respectively. The frequency characteristic test results of the microsensor were in agreement with those of the theoretical analysis in the range of 0–1 kHz. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Power Electronics and Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Experiments on Liquid Flow through Non-Circular Micro-Orifices
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 510; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050510 - 19 May 2020
Viewed by 324
Abstract
Microfluidics is an active research area in modern fluid mechanics, with several applications in science and engineering. Despite their importance in microfluidic systems, micro-orifices with non-circular cross-sections have not been extensively investigated. In this study, micro-orifice discharge with single-phase liquid flow was experimentally [...] Read more.
Microfluidics is an active research area in modern fluid mechanics, with several applications in science and engineering. Despite their importance in microfluidic systems, micro-orifices with non-circular cross-sections have not been extensively investigated. In this study, micro-orifice discharge with single-phase liquid flow was experimentally investigated for seven square and rectangular cross-section micro-orifices with a hydraulic diameter in the range of 326–510 µm. The discharge measurements were carried out in pressurized water (12 MPa) at ambient temperature (298 K) and high temperature (503 K). During the tests, the Reynolds number varied between 5883 and 212,030, significantly extending the range in which data are currently available in the literature on non-circular micro-orifices. The results indicate that the cross-sectional shape of the micro-orifice has little, if any, effect on the hydrodynamic behavior. Thus, existing methods for the prediction of turbulent flow behavior in circular micro-orifices can be used to predict the flow behavior in non-circular micro-orifices, provided that the flow geometry of the non-circular micro-orifice is described using a hydraulic diameter. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section A:Physics)
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Open AccessArticle
Hybrid Process Chain for the Integration of Direct Ink Writing and Polymer Injection Molding
Micromachines 2020, 11(5), 509; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11050509 - 18 May 2020
Viewed by 364
Abstract
The integration of additive manufacturing direct-writing technologies with injection molding provides a novel method to combine functional features into plastic products, and could enable mass-manufacturing of custom-molded plastic parts. In this work, direct-write technology is used to deposit conductive ink traces on the [...] Read more.
The integration of additive manufacturing direct-writing technologies with injection molding provides a novel method to combine functional features into plastic products, and could enable mass-manufacturing of custom-molded plastic parts. In this work, direct-write technology is used to deposit conductive ink traces on the surface of an injection mold. After curing on the mold surface, the printed trace is transferred into the plastic part by exploiting the high temperature and pressure of a thermoplastic polymer melt flow. The transfer of the traces is controlled by interlocking with the polymer system, which creates strong plastic/ink interfacial bonding. The hybrid process chain uses designed mold/ink surface interactions to manufacture stable ink/polymer interfaces. Here, the process chain is proposed and validated through systematic interfacial analysis including feature fidelity, mechanical properties, adhesion, mold topography, surface energy, and hot polymer contact angle. Full article
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