Editor's Choice Articles

Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to authors, or important in this field. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.

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Article
Parametric Study of Jet/Droplet Formation Process during LIFT Printing of Living Cell-Laden Bioink
Micromachines 2021, 12(11), 1408; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12111408 - 16 Nov 2021
Abstract
Bioprinting offers great potential for the fabrication of three-dimensional living tissues by the precise layer-by-layer printing of biological materials, including living cells and cell-laden hydrogels. The laser-induced forward transfer (LIFT) of cell-laden bioinks is one of the most promising laser-printing technologies enabling biofabrication. [...] Read more.
Bioprinting offers great potential for the fabrication of three-dimensional living tissues by the precise layer-by-layer printing of biological materials, including living cells and cell-laden hydrogels. The laser-induced forward transfer (LIFT) of cell-laden bioinks is one of the most promising laser-printing technologies enabling biofabrication. However, for it to be a viable bioprinting technology, bioink printability must be carefully examined. In this study, we used a time-resolved imaging system to study the cell-laden bioink droplet formation process in terms of the droplet size, velocity, and traveling distance. For this purpose, the bioinks were prepared using breast cancer cells with different cell concentrations to evaluate the effect of the cell concentration on the droplet formation process and the survival of the cells after printing. These bioinks were compared with cell-free bioinks under the same printing conditions to understand the effect of the particle physical properties on the droplet formation procedure. The morphology of the printed droplets indicated that it is possible to print uniform droplets for a wide range of cell concentrations. Overall, it is concluded that the laser fluence and the distance of the donor–receiver substrates play an important role in the printing impingement type; consequently, a careful adjustment of these parameters can lead to high-quality printing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Laser Bio-Printing)
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Article
Polycarbonate Masters for Soft Lithography
Micromachines 2021, 12(11), 1392; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12111392 - 13 Nov 2021
Abstract
Fabrication of microfluidic devices by soft lithography is by far the most popular approach due to its simplicity and low cost. The approach relies on casting of elastomers, such as polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), on masters fabricated from photoresists on silicon substrates. These masters, however, [...] Read more.
Fabrication of microfluidic devices by soft lithography is by far the most popular approach due to its simplicity and low cost. The approach relies on casting of elastomers, such as polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), on masters fabricated from photoresists on silicon substrates. These masters, however, can be expensive, complicated to fabricate, and fragile. Here we describe an optimized replica molding approach to preserve the original masters by heat molding of polycarbonate (PC) sheets on PDMS molds. The process is faster and simpler than previously reported methods and does not result in a loss of resolution or aspect ratio for the features. The generated PC masters were used to successfully replicate a wide range of microfluidic devices, including rectangular channels with aspect ratios from 0.025 to 7.3, large area spiral channels, and micropost arrays with 5 µm spacing. Moreover, fabrication of rounded features, such as semi-spherical microwells, was possible and easy. Quantitative analysis of the replicated features showed variability of <2%. The approach is low cost, does not require cleanroom setting or hazardous chemicals, and is rapid and simple. The fabricated masters are rigid and survive numerous replication cycles. Moreover, damaged or missing masters can be easily replaced by reproduction from previously cast PDMS replicas. All of these advantages make the PC masters highly desirable for long-term preservation of soft lithography masters for microfluidic devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers of Micromachines in Materials and Processing 2021)
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Article
A Miniature Optical Force Dual-Axis Accelerometer Based on Laser Diodes and Small Particles Cavities
Micromachines 2021, 12(11), 1375; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12111375 - 08 Nov 2021
Abstract
In recent years, the optical accelerometer based on the optical trapping force effect has gradually attracted the attention of researchers for its high sensitivity and high measurement accuracy. However, due to its large size and the complexity of optical path adjustment, the optical [...] Read more.
In recent years, the optical accelerometer based on the optical trapping force effect has gradually attracted the attention of researchers for its high sensitivity and high measurement accuracy. However, due to its large size and the complexity of optical path adjustment, the optical force accelerometers reported are only suitable for the laboratory environment up to now. In this paper, a miniature optical force dual-axis accelerometer based on the miniature optical system and a particles cavity which is prepared by Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology is proposed. The overall system of the miniature optical levitation including the miniature optical system and MEMS particles cavity is a cylindrical structure with a diameter of about 10 mm and a height of 33 mm (Φ 10 mm × 33 mm). Moreover, the size of this accelerometer is 200 mm × 100 mm × 100 mm. Due to the selected light source being a laser diode light source with elliptical distribution, it is sensitive to the external acceleration in both the long axis and the short axis. This accelerometer achieves a measurement range of ±0.17 g–±0.26 g and measurement resolution of 0.49 mg and 1.88 mg. The result shows that the short-term zero-bias stability of the two orthogonal axes of the optical force accelerometer is 4.4 mg and 9.2 mg, respectively. The main conclusion that can be drawn is that this optical force accelerometer could provide an effective solution for measuring acceleration with an optical force effect for compact engineering devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section E:Engineering and Technology)
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Article
A Novel Fabricating Method of Micro Lens-on-Lens Arrays with Two Focal Lengths
Micromachines 2021, 12(11), 1372; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12111372 - 08 Nov 2021
Abstract
Micro lens-on-lens array (MLLA) is a novel 3D structure with unique optical properties that cannot be fabricated accurately and quickly by existing processing methods. In this paper, a new fabricating method of MLLAs with two focal lengths is proposed. By introducing the soft [...] Read more.
Micro lens-on-lens array (MLLA) is a novel 3D structure with unique optical properties that cannot be fabricated accurately and quickly by existing processing methods. In this paper, a new fabricating method of MLLAs with two focal lengths is proposed. By introducing the soft lithography technology, nano-imprint technology and mask alignment exposure technology, MLLAs with high precisions can be obtained. A MLLA is successfully fabricated with two focal lengths of 58 μm and 344 μm, and an experiment is carried out. The results show that the MLLA has excellent two-level focusing and imaging abilities. Furthermore, the fabricated profiles of the MLLA agree well with the designed profiles, and the morphology deviation of the MLLA is better than 2%, satisfying the application requirements. The results verify the feasibility and validity of the novel fabricating method. By adjusting mask patterns and processing parameters, MLLAs with both changeable sizes and focal lengths can be obtained. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design and Manufacture of Micro Optical Lens)
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Article
Suspended Silicon Waveguide with Sub-Wavelength Grating Cladding for Optical MEMS in Mid-Infrared
Micromachines 2021, 12(11), 1311; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12111311 - 26 Oct 2021
Abstract
Mid-infrared (MIR) photonics are generating considerable interest because of the potential applications in spectroscopic sensing, thermal imaging, and remote sensing. Silicon photonics is believed to be a promising solution to realize MIR photonic integrated circuits (PICs). The past decade has seen a huge [...] Read more.
Mid-infrared (MIR) photonics are generating considerable interest because of the potential applications in spectroscopic sensing, thermal imaging, and remote sensing. Silicon photonics is believed to be a promising solution to realize MIR photonic integrated circuits (PICs). The past decade has seen a huge growth in MIR PIC building blocks. However, there is still a need for the development of MIR reconfigurable photonics to enable powerful on-chip optical systems and new functionalities. In this paper, we present an MIR (3.7~4.1 μm wavelength range) MEMS reconfiguration approach using the suspended silicon waveguide platform on the silicon-on-insulator. With the sub-wavelength grating claddings, the photonic waveguide can be well integrated with the MEMS actuator, thus offering low-loss, energy-efficient, and effective reconfiguration. We present a simulation study on the waveguide design and depict the MEMS-integration approach. Moreover, we experimentally report the suspended waveguide with propagation loss (−2.9 dB/cm) and bending loss (−0.076 dB each). The suspended waveguide coupler is experimentally investigated. In addition, we validate the proposed optical MEMS approach using a reconfigurable ring resonator design. In conclusion, we experimentally demonstrate the proposed waveguide platform’s capability for MIR MEMS-reconfigurable photonics, which empowers the MIR on-chip optical systems for various applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers of Micromachines in Materials and Processing 2021)
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Article
New Method for Preparing Small-Caliber Artificial Blood Vessel with Controllable Microstructure on the Inner Wall Based on Additive Material Composite Molding
Micromachines 2021, 12(11), 1312; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12111312 - 26 Oct 2021
Abstract
The diameter of most blood vessels in cardiovascular and peripheral vascular system is less than 6 mm. Because the inner diameter of such vessels is small, a built-in stent often leads to thrombosis and other problems. It is an important goal to replace [...] Read more.
The diameter of most blood vessels in cardiovascular and peripheral vascular system is less than 6 mm. Because the inner diameter of such vessels is small, a built-in stent often leads to thrombosis and other problems. It is an important goal to replace it directly with artificial vessels. This paper creatively proposed a preparation method of a small-diameter artificial vascular graft which can form a controllable microstructure on the inner wall and realize a multi-material composite. On the one hand, the inner wall of blood vessels containing direct writing structure is constructed by electrostatic direct writing and micro-imprinting technology to regulate cell behavior and promote endothelialization; on the other hand, the outer wall of blood vessels was prepared by electrospinning PCL to ensure the stability of mechanical properties of composite grafts. By optimizing the key parameters of the graft, a small-diameter artificial blood vessel with controllable microstructure on the inner wall is finally prepared. The corresponding performance characterization experimental results show that it has advantages in structure, mechanical properties, and promoting endothelialization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro/Nano Devices for Blood Analysis, Volume II)
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Article
Improving the Performance of the ToGoFET Probe: Advances in Design, Fabrication, and Signal Processing
Micromachines 2021, 12(11), 1303; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12111303 - 23 Oct 2021
Abstract
We report recent improvements of the tip-on-gate of field-effect-transistor (ToGoFET) probe used for capacitive measurement. Probe structure, fabrication, and signal processing were modified. The inbuilt metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect-transistor (MOSFET) was redesigned to ensure reliable probe operation. Fabrication was based on the standard complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor [...] Read more.
We report recent improvements of the tip-on-gate of field-effect-transistor (ToGoFET) probe used for capacitive measurement. Probe structure, fabrication, and signal processing were modified. The inbuilt metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect-transistor (MOSFET) was redesigned to ensure reliable probe operation. Fabrication was based on the standard complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) process, and trench formation and the channel definition were modified. Demodulation of the amplitude-modulated drain current was varied, enhancing the signal-to-noise ratio. The I-V characteristics of the inbuilt MOSFET reflect the design and fabrication modifications, and measurement of a buried electrode revealed improved ToGoFET imaging performance. The minimum measurable value was enhanced 20-fold. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Probes for Scanning Probe Microscopy)
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Article
Flexohand: A Hybrid Exoskeleton-Based Novel Hand Rehabilitation Device
Micromachines 2021, 12(11), 1274; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12111274 - 20 Oct 2021
Abstract
Home-based hand rehabilitation has excellent potential as it may reduce patient dropouts due to travel, transportation, and insurance constraints. Being able to perform exercises precisely, accurately, and in a repetitive manner, robot-aided portable devices have gained much traction these days in hand rehabilitation. [...] Read more.
Home-based hand rehabilitation has excellent potential as it may reduce patient dropouts due to travel, transportation, and insurance constraints. Being able to perform exercises precisely, accurately, and in a repetitive manner, robot-aided portable devices have gained much traction these days in hand rehabilitation. However, existing devices fall short in allowing some key natural movements, which are crucial to achieving full potential motion in performing activities of daily living. Firstly, existing exoskeleton type devices often restrict or suffer from uncontrolled wrist and forearm movement during finger exercises due to their setup of actuation and transmission mechanism. Secondly, they restrict passive metacarpophalangeal (MCP) abduction–adduction during MCP flexion–extension motion. Lastly, though a few of them can provide isolated finger ROM, none of them can offer isolated joint motion as per therapeutic need. All these natural movements are crucial for effective robot-aided finger rehabilitation. To bridge these gaps, in this research, a novel lightweight robotic device, namely “Flexohand”, has been developed for hand rehabilitation. A novel compliant mechanism has been developed and included in Flexohand to compensate for the passive movement of MCP abduction–adduction. The isolated and composite digit joint flexion–extension has been achieved by integrating a combination of sliding locks for IP joints and a wire locking system for finger MCP joints. Besides, the intuitive design of Flexohand inherently allows wrist joint movement during hand digit exercises. Experiments of passive exercises involving isolated joint motion, composite joint motions of individual fingers, and isolated joint motion of multiple fingers have been conducted to validate the functionality of the developed device. The experimental results show that Flexohand addresses the limitations of existing robot-aided hand rehabilitation devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wearable Robotics)
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Article
Microfluidic Bioreactor Made of Cyclo-Olefin Polymer for Observing On-Chip Platelet Production
Micromachines 2021, 12(10), 1253; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12101253 - 15 Oct 2021
Abstract
We previously proposed a microfluidic bioreactor with glass–Si–glass layers to evaluate the effect of the fluid force on platelet (PLT) production and fabricated a three-dimensional (3D) microchannel by combining grayscale photolithography and deep reactive ion etching. However, a challenge remains in observing the [...] Read more.
We previously proposed a microfluidic bioreactor with glass–Si–glass layers to evaluate the effect of the fluid force on platelet (PLT) production and fabricated a three-dimensional (3D) microchannel by combining grayscale photolithography and deep reactive ion etching. However, a challenge remains in observing the detailed process of PLT production owing to the low visibility of the microfluidic bioreactor. In this paper, we present a transparent microfluidic bioreactor made of cyclo-olefin polymer (COP) with which to observe the process of platelet-like particle (PLP) production under a bright-field, which allows us to obtain image data at a high sampling rate. We succeeded in fabricating the COP microfluidic bioreactor with a 3D microchannel. We investigated the bonding strength of COP-COP layers and confirmed the effectiveness of the microfluidic bioreactor. Results of on-chip PLP production using immortalized megakaryocyte cell lines (imMKCLs) derived from human-induced pluripotent stem cells show that the average total number of produced PLPs per imMKCL was 17.6 PLPs/imMKCL, which is comparable to that of our previous glass–Si–glass microfluidic bioreactor (17.4 PLPs/imMKCL). We succeeded in observing PLP production under a bright-field using the presented microfluidic bioreactor and confirmed that PLP fragmented in a narrow area of proplatelet-like protrusions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Biomedical Microdevices)
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Article
Transparent and Flexible Vibration Sensor Based on a Wheel-Shaped Hybrid Thin Membrane
Micromachines 2021, 12(10), 1246; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12101246 - 14 Oct 2021
Abstract
With the advent of human–machine interaction and the Internet of Things, wearable and flexible vibration sensors have been developed to detect human voices and surrounding vibrations transmitted to humans. However, previous wearable vibration sensors have limitations in the sensing performance, such as frequency [...] Read more.
With the advent of human–machine interaction and the Internet of Things, wearable and flexible vibration sensors have been developed to detect human voices and surrounding vibrations transmitted to humans. However, previous wearable vibration sensors have limitations in the sensing performance, such as frequency response, linearity of sensitivity, and esthetics. In this study, a transparent and flexible vibration sensor was developed by incorporating organic/inorganic hybrid materials into ultrathin membranes. The sensor exhibited a linear and high sensitivity (20 mV/g) and a flat frequency response (80–3000 Hz), which are attributed to the wheel-shaped capacitive diaphragm structure fabricated by exploiting the high processability and low stiffness of the organic material SU-8 and the high conductivity of the inorganic material ITO. The sensor also has sufficient esthetics as a wearable device because of the high transparency of SU-8 and ITO. In addition, the temperature of the post-annealing process after ITO sputtering was optimized for the high transparency and conductivity. The fabricated sensor showed significant potential for use in transparent healthcare devices to monitor the vibrations transmitted from hand-held vibration tools and in a skin-attachable vocal sensor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hybrid Organic Electronics: Material, Structure and Application)
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Article
A Parallelized Nanofluidic Device for High-Throughput Optical DNA Mapping of Bacterial Plasmids
Micromachines 2021, 12(10), 1234; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12101234 - 11 Oct 2021
Abstract
Optical DNA mapping (ODM) has developed into an important technique for DNA analysis, where single DNA molecules are sequence-specifically labeled and stretched, for example, in nanofluidic channels. We have developed an ODM assay to analyze bacterial plasmids—circular extrachromosomal DNA that often carry genes [...] Read more.
Optical DNA mapping (ODM) has developed into an important technique for DNA analysis, where single DNA molecules are sequence-specifically labeled and stretched, for example, in nanofluidic channels. We have developed an ODM assay to analyze bacterial plasmids—circular extrachromosomal DNA that often carry genes that make bacteria resistant to antibiotics. As for most techniques, the next important step is to increase throughput and automation. In this work, we designed and fabricated a nanofluidic device that, together with a simple automation routine, allows parallel analysis of up to 10 samples at the same time. Using plasmids encoding extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBL), isolated from Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae, we demonstrate the multiplexing capabilities of the device when it comes to both many samples in parallel and different resistance genes. As a final example, we combined the device with a novel protocol for rapid cultivation and extraction of plasmids from fecal samples collected from patients. This combined protocol will make it possible to analyze many patient samples in one device already on the day the sample is collected, which is an important step forward for the ODM analysis of plasmids in clinical diagnostics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro/Nano Fabrication for Life Sciences)
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Article
Performance Evaluation of a Magnetically Driven Microrobot for Targeted Drug Delivery
Micromachines 2021, 12(10), 1210; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12101210 - 03 Oct 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
Given that the current microrobot cannot achieve fixed-point and quantitative drug application in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, a targeted drug delivery microrobot is proposed, and its principle and characteristics are studied. Through the control of an external magnetic field, it can actively move [...] Read more.
Given that the current microrobot cannot achieve fixed-point and quantitative drug application in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, a targeted drug delivery microrobot is proposed, and its principle and characteristics are studied. Through the control of an external magnetic field, it can actively move to the affected area to realize the targeted drug delivery function. The microrobot has a cam structure connected with a radially magnetized permanent magnet, which can realize two movement modes: movement and targeted drug delivery. Firstly, the magnetic actuated capsule microrobotic system (MACMS) is analyzed. Secondly, the dynamic model and quantitative drug delivery model of the targeted drug delivery microrobot driven by the spiral jet structure are established, and the motion characteristics of the targeted drug delivery microrobot are simulated and analyzed by the method of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). Finally, the whole process of the targeted drug delivery task of the microrobot is simulated. The results show that the targeted drug delivery microrobot can realize basic movements such as forward, backward, fixed-point parking and drug delivery through external magnetic field control, which lays the foundation for gastrointestinal diagnosis and treatment. Full article
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Article
Solution for Mass Production of High-Throughput Digital Microfluidic Chip Based on a-Si TFT with In-Pixel Boost Circuit
Micromachines 2021, 12(10), 1199; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12101199 - 30 Sep 2021
Abstract
As one of the most popular research hotspot of lab-on-chip, digital microfluidic (DMF) technology based on the principle of electrowetting has unique advantages of high-precision, low cost and programmable control. However, due to the limitation of electrodes number, the throughput is hard to [...] Read more.
As one of the most popular research hotspot of lab-on-chip, digital microfluidic (DMF) technology based on the principle of electrowetting has unique advantages of high-precision, low cost and programmable control. However, due to the limitation of electrodes number, the throughput is hard to further upgrade. Therefore, active matrix electrowetting-on-dielectric (AM-EWOD) technology is a solution to acquire larger scale of driving electrodes. However, the process of manufacturing of AM-EWOD based on thin-film-transistor (TFT) is complex and expensive. Besides, the driving voltage of DMF chip is usually much higher than that of common display products.In this paper, a solution for mass production of AM-EWOD based on amorphous silicon (a-Si) is provided. Samples of 32 × 32 matrix AM-EWOD chips was designed and manufactured. A boost circuit was integrated into the pixel, which can raise the pixel voltage up by about 50%. Customized designed Printed Circuit Board (PCB) was used to supply the timing signals and driving voltage to make the motion of droplets programmable. The process of moving, mixing and generation of droplets was demonstrated.The minimum voltage in need was about 20 V and a velocity of up to 96 mm/s was achieved. Such an DMF device with large-scale matrix and low driving voltage will be very suitable for POCT applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microfluidic Systems for Diagnostic Applications)
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Article
Efficiency Enhancement of Electro-Adsorption Desalination Using Iron Oxide Nanoparticle-Incorporated Activated Carbon Nanocomposite
Micromachines 2021, 12(10), 1148; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12101148 - 24 Sep 2021
Abstract
Capacitive deionization (CDI) technology is currently considered a potential candidate for brackish water desalination. In this study, we designed iron oxide nanoparticle-incorporated activated carbon (AC/Fe2O3) via a facile and cost-effective hydrothermal process. The as-synthesized material was characterized using several [...] Read more.
Capacitive deionization (CDI) technology is currently considered a potential candidate for brackish water desalination. In this study, we designed iron oxide nanoparticle-incorporated activated carbon (AC/Fe2O3) via a facile and cost-effective hydrothermal process. The as-synthesized material was characterized using several techniques and tested as electrodes in CDI applications. We found that the distinctive properties of the AC/Fe2O3 electrode, i.e., high wettability, high surface area, unique structural morphology, and high conductivity, resulted in promising CDI performance. The electrosorptive capacity of the AC/Fe2O3 nanocomposite reached 6.76 mg g−1 in the CDI process, with a high specific capacitance of 1157.5 F g−1 at 10 mV s−1 in a 1 M NaCl electrolyte. This study confirms the potential use of AC/Fe2O3 nanocomposites as viable electrode materials in CDI and other electrochemical applications. Full article
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Article
Micro-Prism Patterned Remote Phosphor Film for Enhanced Luminous Efficiency and Color Uniformity of Phosphor-Converted Light-Emitting Diodes
Micromachines 2021, 12(9), 1117; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12091117 - 17 Sep 2021
Abstract
In this work, we propose micro-prism patterned remote phosphor (RP) films to enhance both luminous efficiency and color uniformity (CU) of remote phosphor-converted light-emitting diodes (rpc-LEDs) simultaneously. On the incident surface of the RP film, one micro-prism film is used to extract backward [...] Read more.
In this work, we propose micro-prism patterned remote phosphor (RP) films to enhance both luminous efficiency and color uniformity (CU) of remote phosphor-converted light-emitting diodes (rpc-LEDs) simultaneously. On the incident surface of the RP film, one micro-prism film is used to extract backward light by double reflection. On the exit surface, the other micro-prism film is adopted to retain blue light inside the RP film, thus enhancing the phosphor excitation. Experimental results show that double prism-patterned RP (DP-RP) film configuration shows a luminous flux of 55.16 lm, which is 45.1% higher than that of RP film configuration at 300 mA. As regards the CU, the DP-RP film configuration reduces the angular CIE-x and CIE-y standard variations by 68% and 69.32%, respectively, compared with the pristine device. Moreover, the DP-RP film configuration shows excellent color stability under varying driving currents. Since micro-prism films can be easily fabricated by a roll-to-roll process, the micro-prism patterned RP film can be an alternative to a conventional RP layer to enable the practical application of rpc-LEDs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microsystem for Electronic Devices)
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Article
P-Doped Carbon Quantum Dots with Antibacterial Activity
Micromachines 2021, 12(9), 1116; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12091116 - 16 Sep 2021
Abstract
It is a major challenge to effectively inhibit microbial pathogens in the treatment of infectious diseases. Research on the application of nanomaterials as antibacterial agents has evidenced their great potential for the remedy of infectious disease. Among these nanomaterials, carbon quantum dots (CQDs) [...] Read more.
It is a major challenge to effectively inhibit microbial pathogens in the treatment of infectious diseases. Research on the application of nanomaterials as antibacterial agents has evidenced their great potential for the remedy of infectious disease. Among these nanomaterials, carbon quantum dots (CQDs) have attracted much attention owing to their unique optical properties and high biosafety. In this work, P-doped CQDs were prepared by simple hydrothermal treatment of m-aminophenol and phosphoric acid with fluorescence emission at 501 nm when excited at 429 nm. The P-doped CQDs showed effective antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). The minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of P-doped CQD were 1.23 mg/mL for E. coli and 1.44 mg/mL for S. aureus. Furthermore, the morphologies of E. coli cells were damaged and S. aureus became irregular when treated with the P-doped CQDs. The results of zeta potential analysis demonstrated that the P-doped CQDs inhibit antibacterial activity and destroy the structure of bacteria by electronic interaction. In combination, the results of this study indicate that the as-prepared P-doped CQDs can be a promising candidate for the treatment of bacterial infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Flexible Sensors and Actuators for Biomedicine)
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Article
Physiological and Behavioral Effects of SiO2 Nanoparticle Ingestion on Daphnia magna
Micromachines 2021, 12(9), 1105; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12091105 - 14 Sep 2021
Abstract
The increasingly widespread use of engineered nanoparticles in medical, industrial, and food applications has raised concerns regarding their potential toxicity to humans and the environment. Silicon dioxide nanoparticles (SiO2 NPs), which have relatively low direct toxicity, have been increasingly applied in both [...] Read more.
The increasingly widespread use of engineered nanoparticles in medical, industrial, and food applications has raised concerns regarding their potential toxicity to humans and the environment. Silicon dioxide nanoparticles (SiO2 NPs), which have relatively low direct toxicity, have been increasingly applied in both consumer products and biomedical applications, leading to significantly higher exposure for humans and the environment. We carried out a toxicity assessment of SiO2 NPs using the common water flea D. magna by focusing on physiological and behavioral indicators such as heart rate, swimming performance, and growth. Exposure to SiO2 NPs did not produce acute or chronic toxicity at limited concentrations (<100 μg/mL), but did have statistically significant negative effects on heart rate, swimming distance, and body size. The use of fluorescein isothiocyanate in a silica matrix allowed the tracing and visualization of clear SiO2 NP accumulation in D. magna, which was confirmed by ICP-MS. Although exposure to SiO2 NPs seemed to affect cardiac and swimming performance, such end-point experiments may be insufficient to fully understand the toxicity of these nanoparticles. However, the physiological and behavioral changes shown here suggest potential adverse effects on the aquatic environment by substances previously considered nontoxic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nano Korea 2021)
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Article
Distinct Roles of Tensile and Compressive Stresses in Graphitizing and Properties of Carbon Nanofibers
Micromachines 2021, 12(9), 1096; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12091096 - 11 Sep 2021
Abstract
It is generally accepted that inducing molecular alignment in a polymer precursor via mechanical stresses influences its graphitization during pyrolysis. However, our understanding of how variations of the imposed mechanics can influence pyrolytic carbon microstructure and functionality is inadequate. Developing such insight is [...] Read more.
It is generally accepted that inducing molecular alignment in a polymer precursor via mechanical stresses influences its graphitization during pyrolysis. However, our understanding of how variations of the imposed mechanics can influence pyrolytic carbon microstructure and functionality is inadequate. Developing such insight is consequential for different aspects of carbon MEMS manufacturing and applicability, as pyrolytic carbons are the main building blocks of MEMS devices. Herein, we study the outcomes of contrasting routes of stress-induced graphitization by providing a comparative analysis of the effects of compressive stress versus standard tensile treatment of PAN-based carbon precursors. The results of different materials characterizations (including scanning electron microscopy, Raman and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopies, as well as high-resolution transmission electron microscopy) reveal that while subjecting precursor molecules to both types of mechanical stresses will induce graphitization in the resulting pyrolytic carbon, this effect is more pronounced in the case of compressive stress. We also evaluated the mechanical behavior of three carbon types, namely compression-induced (CIPC), tension-induced (TIPC), and untreated pyrolytic carbon (PC) by Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA) of carbon samples in their as-synthesized mat format. Using DMA, the elastic modulus, ultimate tensile strength, and ductility of CIPC and TIPC films are determined and compared with untreated pyrolytic carbon. Both stress-induced carbons exhibit enhanced stiffness and strength properties over untreated carbons. The compression-induced films reveal remarkably larger mechanical enhancement with the elastic modulus 26 times higher and tensile strength 2.85 times higher for CIPC compared to untreated pyrolytic carbon. However, these improvements come at the expense of lowered ductility for compression-treated carbon, while tension-treated carbon does not show any loss of ductility. The results provided by this report point to the ways that the carbon MEMS industry can improve and revise the current standard strategies for manufacturing and implementing carbon-based micro-devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue C-MEMS: Microstructure, Shapes, and Applications in Carbon)
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Article
Additive Manufacturing of Textured FePrCuB Permanent Magnets
Micromachines 2021, 12(9), 1056; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12091056 - 31 Aug 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
Permanent magnets based on FePrCuB were realized on a laboratory scale through additive manufacturing (laser powder bed fusion, L-PBF) and book mold casting (reference). A well-adjusted two-stage heat treatment of the as-cast/as-printed FePrCuB alloys produces hard magnetic properties without the need for subsequent [...] Read more.
Permanent magnets based on FePrCuB were realized on a laboratory scale through additive manufacturing (laser powder bed fusion, L-PBF) and book mold casting (reference). A well-adjusted two-stage heat treatment of the as-cast/as-printed FePrCuB alloys produces hard magnetic properties without the need for subsequent powder metallurgical processing. This resulted in a coercivity of 0.67 T, remanence of 0.67 T and maximum energy density of 69.8 kJ/m3 for the printed parts. While the annealed book-mold-cast FePrCuB alloys are easy-plane permanent magnets (BMC magnet), the printed magnets are characterized by a distinct, predominantly directional microstructure that originated from the AM process and was further refined during heat treatment. Due to the higher degree of texturing, the L-PBF magnet has a 26% higher remanence compared to the identically annealed BMC magnet of the same composition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Laser Additive Manufacturing of Metallic Materials)
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Article
A Composite Microfiber for Biodegradable Stretchable Electronics
Micromachines 2021, 12(9), 1036; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12091036 - 28 Aug 2021
Abstract
Biodegradable stretchable electronics have demonstrated great potential for future applications in stretchable electronics and can be resorbed, dissolved, and disintegrated in the environment. Most biodegradable electronic devices have used flexible biodegradable materials, which have limited conformality in wearable and implantable devices. Here, we [...] Read more.
Biodegradable stretchable electronics have demonstrated great potential for future applications in stretchable electronics and can be resorbed, dissolved, and disintegrated in the environment. Most biodegradable electronic devices have used flexible biodegradable materials, which have limited conformality in wearable and implantable devices. Here, we report a biodegradable, biocompatible, and stretchable composite microfiber of poly(glycerol sebacate) (PGS) and polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) for transient stretchable device applications. Compositing high-strength PVA with stretchable and biodegradable PGS with poor processability, formability, and mechanical strength overcomes the limits of pure PGS. As an application, the stretchable microfiber-based strain sensor developed by the incorporation of Au nanoparticles (AuNPs) into a composite microfiber showed stable current response under cyclic and dynamic stretching at 30% strain. The sensor also showed the ability to monitor the strain produced by tapping, bending, and stretching of the finger, knee, and esophagus. The biodegradable and stretchable composite materials of PGS with additive PVA have great potential for use in transient and environmentally friendly stretchable electronics with reduced environmental footprint. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials, Structures and Manufacturing towards Soft Electronics)
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Article
Rapid Lipid Content Screening in Neochloris oleoabundans Utilizing Carbon-Based Dielectrophoresis
Micromachines 2021, 12(9), 1023; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12091023 - 27 Aug 2021
Abstract
In this study, we carried out a heterogeneous cytoplasmic lipid content screening of Neochloris oleoabundans microalgae by dielectrophoresis (DEP), using castellated glassy carbon microelectrodes in a PDMS microchannel. For this purpose, microalgae were cultured in nitrogen-replete (N+) and nitrogen-deplete (N−) suspensions to promote [...] Read more.
In this study, we carried out a heterogeneous cytoplasmic lipid content screening of Neochloris oleoabundans microalgae by dielectrophoresis (DEP), using castellated glassy carbon microelectrodes in a PDMS microchannel. For this purpose, microalgae were cultured in nitrogen-replete (N+) and nitrogen-deplete (N−) suspensions to promote low and high cytoplasmic lipid production in cells, respectively. Experiments were carried out over a wide frequency window (100 kHz–30 MHz) at a fixed amplitude of 7 VPP. The results showed a statistically significant difference between the dielectrophoretic behavior of N+ and N− cells at low frequencies (100–800 kHz), whereas a weak response was observed for mid- and high frequencies (1–30 MHz). Additionally, a finite element analysis using a 3D model was conducted to determine the dielectrophoretic trapping zones across the electrode gaps. These results suggest that low-cost glassy carbon is a reliable material for microalgae classification—between low and high cytoplasmic lipid content—through DEP, providing a fast and straightforward mechanism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from ICMA2021)
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Article
Fabrication of Needle-Like Silicon Nanowires by Using a Nanoparticles-Assisted Bosch Process for Both High Hydrophobicity and Anti-Reflection
Micromachines 2021, 12(9), 1009; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12091009 - 25 Aug 2021
Abstract
In this work, a modified Bosch etching process is developed to create silicon nanowires. Au nanoparticles (NPs) formed by magnetron sputtering film deposition and thermal annealing were employed as the hard mask to achieve controllable density and high aspect ratios. Such silicon nanowire [...] Read more.
In this work, a modified Bosch etching process is developed to create silicon nanowires. Au nanoparticles (NPs) formed by magnetron sputtering film deposition and thermal annealing were employed as the hard mask to achieve controllable density and high aspect ratios. Such silicon nanowire exhibits the excellent anti-reflection ability of a reflectance value of below 2% within a broad light wave range between 220 and 1100 nm. In addition, Au NPs-induced surface plasmons significantly enhance the near-unity anti-reflection characteristics, achieving a reflectance below 3% within the wavelength range of 220 to 2600 nm. Furthermore, the nanowire array exhibits super-hydrophobic behavior with a contact angle over ~165.6° without enforcing any hydrophobic chemical treatment. Such behavior yields in water droplets bouncing off the surface many times. These properties render this silicon nanowire attractive for applications such as photothermal, photocatalysis, supercapacitor, and microfluidics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Micro Manufacturing Technologies and Applications)
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Article
Fabrication of 3D Micro-Blades for the Cutting of Biological Structures in a Microfluidic Guillotine
Micromachines 2021, 12(9), 1005; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12091005 - 24 Aug 2021
Abstract
Micro-blade design is an important factor in the cutting of single cells and other biological structures. This paper describes the fabrication process of three-dimensional (3D) micro-blades for the cutting of single cells in a microfluidic “guillotine” intended for fundamental wound repair and regeneration [...] Read more.
Micro-blade design is an important factor in the cutting of single cells and other biological structures. This paper describes the fabrication process of three-dimensional (3D) micro-blades for the cutting of single cells in a microfluidic “guillotine” intended for fundamental wound repair and regeneration studies. Our microfluidic guillotine consists of a fixed 3D micro-blade centered in a microchannel to bisect cells flowing through. We show that the Nanoscribe two-photon polymerization direct laser writing system is capable of fabricating complex 3D micro-blade geometries. However, structures made of the Nanoscribe IP-S resin have low adhesion to silicon, and they tend to peel off from the substrate after at most two times of replica molding in poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS). Our work demonstrates that the use of a secondary mold replicates Nanoscribe-printed features faithfully for at least 10 iterations. Finally, we show that complex micro-blade features can generate different degrees of cell wounding and cell survival rates compared with simple blades possessing a vertical cutting edge fabricated with conventional 2.5D photolithography. Our work lays the foundation for future applications in single cell analyses, wound repair and regeneration studies, as well as investigations of the physics of cutting and the interaction between the micro-blade and biological structures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers of Micromachines in Biology and Biomedicine 2021)
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Article
Miniature Ultralight Deformable Squama Mechanics and Skin Based on Piezoelectric Actuation
Micromachines 2021, 12(8), 969; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12080969 - 16 Aug 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
A miniature deformable squama mechanics based on piezoelectric actuation inspired by the deformable squama is proposed in this paper. The overall size of the mechanics is 16 mm × 6 mm × 6 mm, the weight is only 140 mg, the deflection angle [...] Read more.
A miniature deformable squama mechanics based on piezoelectric actuation inspired by the deformable squama is proposed in this paper. The overall size of the mechanics is 16 mm × 6 mm × 6 mm, the weight is only 140 mg, the deflection angle range of the mechanical deformation is −15°~45°, and the mechanical deformation is controllable. The small-batch array processing of the miniature deformable squama mechanics, based on the stereoscopic process, laid the technological foundation for applying the deformed squama array arrangement. We also designed and manufactured a small actuation control boost circuit and a mobile phone piezoelectric control assistant application that makes it convenient to perform short-range non-contact control of the deformation of the squama. The proposed system arranges the deformed squamae into groups to form the skin and controlls the size and direction of the signals input to each group of the squama array, thereby making the skin able to produce different shapes to create deformable skin. Full article
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Article
A Prototype Sensor System Using Fabricated Piezoelectric Braided Cord for Work-Environment Measurement during Work from Home
Micromachines 2021, 12(8), 966; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12080966 - 15 Aug 2021
Abstract
We proposed a new prototype sensor system to understand the workload of employees during telework. The goal of sensing using such a system is to index the degree of stress experienced by employees during work and recognize how to improve their work environment. [...] Read more.
We proposed a new prototype sensor system to understand the workload of employees during telework. The goal of sensing using such a system is to index the degree of stress experienced by employees during work and recognize how to improve their work environment. Currently, to realize this, image processing technology with a Web camera is generally used for vital sign sensing. However, it creates a sense of discomfort at work because of a strong sense of surveillance. To truly evaluate a working environment, it is necessary that an employee be unaware of the sensor system and for the system to be as unobtrusive as possible. To overcome these practical barriers, we have developed a new removable piezoelectric sensor incorporated in a piezoelectric poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) braided cord. This cord is soft and flexible, and it does not cause any discomfort when attached to the cushion cover sheet. Thus, it was possible to measure the workload of an employee working from home without the employee being aware of the presence of a sensor. Additionally, we developed a system for storing data in a cloud system. We succeeded in acquiring continuous long-term data on the vital signs of employees during telework using this system. The analysis of the data revealed a strong correlation between behavior and stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wearable Piezoelectric Devices)
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Article
Road to Acquisition: Preparing a MEMS Microphone Array for Measurement of Fuselage Surface Pressure Fluctuations
Micromachines 2021, 12(8), 961; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12080961 - 14 Aug 2021
Abstract
Preparing and pre-testing experimental setups for flight tests is a lengthy but necessary task. One part of this preparation is comparing newly available measurement technology with proven setups. In our case, we wanted to compare acoustic Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) to large and proven [...] Read more.
Preparing and pre-testing experimental setups for flight tests is a lengthy but necessary task. One part of this preparation is comparing newly available measurement technology with proven setups. In our case, we wanted to compare acoustic Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) to large and proven surface-mounted condenser microphones. The task started with the comparison of spectra in low-speed wind tunnel environments. After successful completion, the challenge was increased to similar comparisons in a transonic wind tunnel. The final goal of performing in-flight measurements on the outside fuselage of a twin-engine turboprop aircraft was eventually achieved using a slim array of 45 MEMS microphones with additional large microphones installed on the same carrier to drawn on for comparison. Finally, the array arrangement of MEMS microphones allowed for a complex study of fuselage surface pressure fluctuations in the wavenumber domain. The study indicates that MEMS microphones are an inexpensive alternative to conventional microphones with increased potential for spatially high-resolved measurements even at challenging experimental conditions during flight tests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micromachined Acoustic Transducers for Audio-Frequency Range)
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Article
Simulation Guided Hand-Driven Portable Triboelectric Nanogenerator: Design, Optimisation, and Evaluation
Micromachines 2021, 12(8), 955; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12080955 - 12 Aug 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
Inspired by the fundamental mechanics of an ancient whirligig (or buzzer toy; 3300 BC), a hand-driven rotational triboelectric nanogenerator (HDR-TENG) was designed and optimised, guided by our recently reported mathematical modelling. This modelling indicates that the power generated by HDR-TENG is a function [...] Read more.
Inspired by the fundamental mechanics of an ancient whirligig (or buzzer toy; 3300 BC), a hand-driven rotational triboelectric nanogenerator (HDR-TENG) was designed and optimised, guided by our recently reported mathematical modelling. This modelling indicates that the power generated by HDR-TENG is a function of the number of segments, rotational speed, and tribo-surface spacing with different weighting sensitivities. Based on the simulation results, additive manufacturing technology was combined with commercially available components to cost-effectively fabricate the HDR-TENG. The fabricated HDR-TENG can provide stable and adjustable rotational speed up to 15,000 rpm with a linear hand stretching. The output voltage of HDR-TENG maintains a constant value within 50,000 cycles of testing when using Nylon 66 and PTFE as the triboelectric material. It can charge a 47 μF capacitor to 2.2 V in one minute. This study provides a cost-effective portable HDR-TENG device with adjustable high rotational speed, high power output, and long durable life, creating opportunities to provide a power supply for point-of-care devices in remote or resource-poor settings and applications in science and engineering education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Triboelectric Energy Harvesters)
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Article
A Soft Pressure Sensor Array Based on a Conducting Nanomembrane
Micromachines 2021, 12(8), 933; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12080933 - 06 Aug 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
Although skin-like pressure sensors exhibit high sensitivity with a high performance over a wide area, they have limitations owing to the critical issue of being linear only in a narrow strain range. Various strategies have been proposed to improve the performance of soft [...] Read more.
Although skin-like pressure sensors exhibit high sensitivity with a high performance over a wide area, they have limitations owing to the critical issue of being linear only in a narrow strain range. Various strategies have been proposed to improve the performance of soft pressure sensors, but such a nonlinearity issue still exists and the sensors are only effective within a very narrow strain range. Herein, we fabricated a highly sensitive multi-channel pressure sensor array by using a simple thermal evaporation process of conducting nanomembranes onto a stretchable substrate. A rigid-island structure capable of dissipating accumulated strain energy induced by external mechanical stimuli was adopted for the sensor. The performance of the sensor was precisely controlled by optimizing the thickness of the stretchable substrate and the number of serpentines of an Au membrane. The fabricated sensor exhibited a sensitivity of 0.675 kPa−1 in the broad pressure range of 2.3–50 kPa with linearity (~0.990), and good stability (>300 Cycles). Finally, we successfully demonstrated a mapping of pressure distribution. Full article
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Article
Fabrication of Microstructured Surface Topologies for the Promotion of Marine Bacteria Biofilm
Micromachines 2021, 12(8), 926; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12080926 - 03 Aug 2021
Abstract
Several marine bacteria of the Roseobacter group can inhibit other microorganisms and are especially antagonistic when growing in biofilms. This aptitude to naturally compete with other bacteria can reduce the need for antibiotics in large-scale aquaculture units, provided that their culture can be [...] Read more.
Several marine bacteria of the Roseobacter group can inhibit other microorganisms and are especially antagonistic when growing in biofilms. This aptitude to naturally compete with other bacteria can reduce the need for antibiotics in large-scale aquaculture units, provided that their culture can be promoted and controlled. Micropatterned surfaces may facilitate and promote the biofilm formation of species from the Roseobacter group, due to the increased contact between the cells and the surface material. Our research goal is to fabricate biofilm-optimal micropatterned surfaces and investigate the relevant length scales for surface topographies that can promote the growth and biofilm formation of the Roseobacter group of bacteria. In a preliminary study, silicon surfaces comprising arrays of pillars and pits with different periodicities, diameters, and depths were produced by UV lithography and deep reactive ion etching (DRIE) on polished silicon wafers. The resulting surface microscale topologies were characterized via optical profilometry and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Screening of the bacterial biofilm on the patterned surfaces was performed using green fluorescent staining (SYBR green I) and confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). Our results indicate that there is a correlation between the surface morphology and the spatial organization of the bacterial biofilm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from ICMA2021)
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Article
Fabrication of a 3D Nanomagnetic Circuit with Multi-Layered Materials for Applications in Spintronics
Micromachines 2021, 12(8), 859; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12080859 - 22 Jul 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
Three-dimensional (3D) spintronic devices are attracting significant research interest due to their potential for both fundamental studies and computing applications. However, their implementations face great challenges regarding not only the fabrication of 3D nanomagnets with high quality materials, but also their integration into [...] Read more.
Three-dimensional (3D) spintronic devices are attracting significant research interest due to their potential for both fundamental studies and computing applications. However, their implementations face great challenges regarding not only the fabrication of 3D nanomagnets with high quality materials, but also their integration into 2D microelectronic circuits. In this study, we developed a new fabrication process to facilitate the efficient integration of both non-planar 3D geometries and high-quality multi-layered magnetic materials to prototype 3D spintronic devices, as a first step to investigate new physical effects in such systems. Specifically, we exploited 3D nanoprinting, physical vapour deposition and lithographic techniques to realise a 3D nanomagnetic circuit based on a nanobridge geometry, coated with high quality Ta/CoFeB/Ta layers. The successful establishment of this 3D circuit was verified through magnetotransport measurements in combination with micromagnetic simulations and finite element modelling. This fabrication process provides new capabilities for the realisation of a greater variety of 3D nanomagnetic circuits, which will facilitate the understanding and exploitation of 3D spintronic systems. Full article
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Article
Low-Cost Laser Micromachining Super Hydrophilic–Super Hydrophobic Microgrooves for Robotic Capillary Micromanipulation of Microfibers
Micromachines 2021, 12(8), 854; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12080854 - 21 Jul 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
Capillary self-alignment technique can achieve highly accurate and fast alignment of micro components. Capillary self-alignment technique relies on the confinement of liquid droplets at receptor sites where hydrophobic–hydrophilic patterns are widely used. This paper reports a low-cost microsecond pulse laser micromachining method for [...] Read more.
Capillary self-alignment technique can achieve highly accurate and fast alignment of micro components. Capillary self-alignment technique relies on the confinement of liquid droplets at receptor sites where hydrophobic–hydrophilic patterns are widely used. This paper reports a low-cost microsecond pulse laser micromachining method for fabrication of super hydrophilic–super hydrophobic grooves as receptor sites for capillary self-alignment of microfibers. We investigated the influence of major manufacturing parameters on groove sizes and wetting properties. The effects of the width (20 µm–100 µm) and depth (8 µm–36 µm) of the groove on the volume of water droplet contained inside the groove were also investigated. We show that by altering scanning speed, using a de-focused laser beam, we can modify the wetting properties of the microgrooves from 10° to 120° in terms of the contact angle. We demonstrated that different types of microfibers including natural and artificial microfibers can self-align to the size matching super hydrophilic–super hydrophobic microgrooves. The results show that super hydrophilic–super hydrophobic microgrooves have great potential in microfiber micromanipulation applications such as natural microfiber categorization, fiber-based microsensor construction, and fiber-enforced material development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Robotic Micromanipulation, Volume II)
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Article
An In Vivo Microfluidic Study of Bacterial Load Dynamics and Absorption in the C. elegans Intestine
Micromachines 2021, 12(7), 832; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12070832 - 17 Jul 2021
Abstract
Caenorhabditiselegans (C. elegans) has gained importance as a model for studying host-microbiota interactions and bacterial infections related to human pathogens. Assessing the fate of ingested bacteria in the worm’s intestine is therefore of great interest, in particular with respect to [...] Read more.
Caenorhabditiselegans (C. elegans) has gained importance as a model for studying host-microbiota interactions and bacterial infections related to human pathogens. Assessing the fate of ingested bacteria in the worm’s intestine is therefore of great interest, in particular with respect to normal bacterial digestion or intestinal colonization by pathogens. Here, we report an in vivo study of bacteria in the gut of C. elegans. We take advantage of a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microfluidic device enabling passive immobilization of adult worms under physiological conditions. Non-pathogenic Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria expressing either pH-sensitive or pH-insensitive fluorescence reporters as well as fluorescently marked indigestible microbeads were used for the different assays. Dynamic fluorescence patterns of the bacterial load in the worm gut were conveniently monitored by time-lapse imaging. Cyclic motion of the bacterial load due to peristaltic activity of the gut was observed and biochemical digestion of E. coli was characterized by high-resolution fluorescence imaging of the worm’s intestine. We could discriminate between individual intact bacteria and diffuse signals related to disrupted bacteria that can be digested. From the decay of the diffuse fluorescent signal, we determined a digestion time constant of 14 ± 4 s. In order to evaluate the possibility to perform infection assays with our platform, immobilized C. elegans worms were fed pathogenic Mycobacterium marinum (M. marinum) bacteria. We analyzed bacterial fate and accumulation in the gut of N2 worms and mitochondrial stress response in a hsp-6::gfp mutant. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organisms-on-Chips)
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Article
Microfluidic Airborne Metal Particle Sensor Using Oil Microcirculation for Real-Time and Continuous Monitoring of Metal Particle Emission
Micromachines 2021, 12(7), 825; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12070825 - 14 Jul 2021
Abstract
Airborne metal particles (MPs; particle size > 10 μm) in workplaces result in a loss in production yield if not detected in time. The demand for compact and cost-efficient MP sensors to monitor airborne MP generation is increasing. However, contemporary instruments and laboratory-grade [...] Read more.
Airborne metal particles (MPs; particle size > 10 μm) in workplaces result in a loss in production yield if not detected in time. The demand for compact and cost-efficient MP sensors to monitor airborne MP generation is increasing. However, contemporary instruments and laboratory-grade sensors exhibit certain limitations in real-time and on-site monitoring of airborne MPs. This paper presents a microfluidic MP detection chip to address these limitations. By combining the proposed system with microcirculation-based particle-to-liquid collection and a capacitive sensing method, the continuous detection of airborne MPs can be achieved. A few microfabrication processes were realized, resulting in a compact system, which can be easily replaced after contamination with a low-priced microfluidic chip. In our experiments, the frequency-dependent capacitive changes were characterized using MP (aluminum) samples (sizes ranging from 10 μm to 40 μm). Performance evaluation of the proposed system under test-bed conditions indicated that it is capable of real-time and continuous monitoring of airborne MPs (minimum size 10 μm) under an optimal frequency, with superior sensitivity and responsivity. Therefore, the proposed system can be used as an on-site MP sensor for unexpected airborne MP generation in precise manufacturing facilities where metal sources are used. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue MEMS/NEMS Sensors and Actuators)
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Article
Post-Operative Monitoring of Intestinal Tissue Oxygenation Using an Implantable Microfabricated Oxygen Sensor
Micromachines 2021, 12(7), 810; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12070810 - 10 Jul 2021
Abstract
Anastomotic leakage (AL) is a common and dangerous post-operative complication following intestinal resection, causing substantial morbidity and mortality. Ischaemia in the tissue surrounding the anastomosis is a major risk-factor for AL development. Continuous tissue oxygenation monitoring during the post-operative recovery period would provide [...] Read more.
Anastomotic leakage (AL) is a common and dangerous post-operative complication following intestinal resection, causing substantial morbidity and mortality. Ischaemia in the tissue surrounding the anastomosis is a major risk-factor for AL development. Continuous tissue oxygenation monitoring during the post-operative recovery period would provide early and accurate early identification of AL risk. We describe the construction and testing of a miniature implantable electrochemical oxygen sensor that addresses this need. It consisted of an array of platinum microelectrodes, microfabricated on a silicon substrate, with a poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) hydrogel membrane to protect the sensor surface. The sensor was encapsulated in a biocompatible package with a wired connection to external instrumentation. It gave a sensitive and highly linear response to variations in oxygen partial pressure in vitro, although over time its sensitivity was partially decreased by protein biofouling. Using a pre-clinical in vivo pig model, acute intestinal ischaemia was robustly and accurately detected by the sensor. Graded changes in tissue oxygenation were also measurable, with relative differences detected more accurately than absolute differences. Finally, we demonstrated its suitability for continuous monitoring of tissue oxygenation at a colorectal anastomosis over a period of at least 45 h. This study provides evidence to support the development and use of implantable electrochemical oxygen sensors for post-operative monitoring of anastomosis oxygenation. Full article
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Communication
Magnetic-Propelled Janus Yeast Cell Robots Functionalized with Metal-Organic Frameworks for Mycotoxin Decontamination
Micromachines 2021, 12(7), 797; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12070797 - 05 Jul 2021
Abstract
Cell robots that transform natural cells into active platforms hold great potential to enrich the biomedical prospects of artificial microrobots. Here, we present Janus yeast cell microrobots (JYC-robots) prepared by asymmetrically coating Fe3O4 nanoparticles (NPs) and subsequent in situ growth [...] Read more.
Cell robots that transform natural cells into active platforms hold great potential to enrich the biomedical prospects of artificial microrobots. Here, we present Janus yeast cell microrobots (JYC-robots) prepared by asymmetrically coating Fe3O4 nanoparticles (NPs) and subsequent in situ growth of zeolitic imidazolate framework-67 (ZIF-67) on the surface of yeast cells. The magnetic actuation relies on the Fe3O4 NPs wrapping. As the compositions of cell robots, the cell wall with abundant polysaccharide coupling with porous and oxidative ZIF-67 can concurrently remove mycotoxin (e.g., zearalenone (ZEN)). The magnetic propulsion accelerates the decontamination efficiency of JYC-robots against ZEN. Although yeast cells with fully coating of Fe3O4 NPs and ZIF-67 (FC-yeasts) show faster movement than JYC-robots, higher toxin-removal efficacy is observed for JYC-robots compared with that of FC-yeasts, reflecting the vital factor of the yeast cell wall in removing mycotoxin. Such design with Janus modification of magnetic NPs (MNPs) and entire coating of ZIF-67 generates active cell robot platform capable of fuel-free propulsion and enhanced detoxification, offering a new formation to develop cell-based robotics system for environmental remediation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fundamentals and Applications of Micro-nanorobotics)
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Article
Machine Assisted Experimentation of Extrusion-Based Bioprinting Systems
Micromachines 2021, 12(7), 780; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12070780 - 30 Jun 2021
Abstract
Optimization of extrusion-based bioprinting (EBB) parameters have been systematically conducted through experimentation. However, the process is time- and resource-intensive and not easily translatable to other laboratories. This study approaches EBB parameter optimization through machine learning (ML) models trained using data collected from the [...] Read more.
Optimization of extrusion-based bioprinting (EBB) parameters have been systematically conducted through experimentation. However, the process is time- and resource-intensive and not easily translatable to other laboratories. This study approaches EBB parameter optimization through machine learning (ML) models trained using data collected from the published literature. We investigated regression-based and classification-based ML models and their abilities to predict printing outcomes of cell viability and filament diameter for cell-containing alginate and gelatin composite bioinks. In addition, we interrogated if regression-based models can predict suitable extrusion pressure given the desired cell viability when keeping other experimental parameters constant. We also compared models trained across data from general literature to models trained across data from one literature source that utilized alginate and gelatin bioinks. The results indicate that models trained on large amounts of data can impart physical trends on cell viability, filament diameter, and extrusion pressure seen in past literature. Regression models trained on the larger dataset also predict cell viability closer to experimental values for material concentration combinations not seen in training data of the single-paper-based regression models. While the best performing classification models for cell viability can achieve an average prediction accuracy of 70%, the cell viability predictions remained constant despite altering input parameter combinations. Our trained models on bioprinting literature data show the potential usage of applying ML models to bioprinting experimental design. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Biomedical Microdevices)
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Article
Fabrication of Ultranarrow Nanochannels with Ultrasmall Nanocomponents in Glass Substrates
Micromachines 2021, 12(7), 775; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12070775 - 30 Jun 2021
Cited by 2
Abstract
Nanofluidics is supposed to take advantage of a variety of new physical phenomena and unusual effects at nanoscales typically below 100 nm. However, the current chip-based nanofluidic applications are mostly based on the use of nanochannels with linewidths above 100 nm, due to [...] Read more.
Nanofluidics is supposed to take advantage of a variety of new physical phenomena and unusual effects at nanoscales typically below 100 nm. However, the current chip-based nanofluidic applications are mostly based on the use of nanochannels with linewidths above 100 nm, due to the restricted ability of the efficient fabrication of nanochannels with narrow linewidths in glass substrates. In this study, we established the fabrication of nanofluidic structures in glass substrates with narrow linewidths of several tens of nanometers by optimizing a nanofabrication process composed of electron-beam lithography and plasma dry etching. Using the optimized process, we achieved the efficient fabrication of fine glass nanochannels with sub-40 nm linewidths, uniform lateral features, and smooth morphologies, in an accurate and precise way. Furthermore, the use of the process allowed the integration of similar or dissimilar material-based ultrasmall nanocomponents in the ultranarrow nanochannels, including arrays of pockets with volumes as less as 42 zeptoliters (zL, 10−21 L) and well-defined gold nanogaps as narrow as 19 nm. We believe that the established nanofabrication process will be very useful for expanding fundamental research and in further improving the applications of nanofluidic devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Nanofluidics, Volume II)
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Communication
Large-Area and Ultrathin MEMS Mirror Using Silicon Micro Rim
Micromachines 2021, 12(7), 754; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12070754 - 26 Jun 2021
Abstract
A large-area and ultrathin MEMS (microelectromechanical system) mirror can provide efficient light-coupling, a large scanning area, and high energy efficiency for actuation. However, the ultrathin mirror is significantly vulnerable to diverse film deformation due to residual thin film stresses, so that high flatness [...] Read more.
A large-area and ultrathin MEMS (microelectromechanical system) mirror can provide efficient light-coupling, a large scanning area, and high energy efficiency for actuation. However, the ultrathin mirror is significantly vulnerable to diverse film deformation due to residual thin film stresses, so that high flatness of the mirror is hardly achieved. Here, we report a MEMS mirror of large-area and ultrathin membrane with high flatness by using the silicon rim microstructure (SRM). The ultrathin MEMS mirror with SRM (SRM-mirror) consists of aluminum (Al) deposited silicon nitride membrane, bimorph actuator, and the SRM. The SRM is simply fabricated underneath the silicon nitride membrane, and thus effectively inhibits the tensile stress relaxation of the membrane. As a result, the membrane has high flatness of 10.6 m−1 film curvature at minimum without any deformation. The electrothermal actuation of the SRM-mirror shows large tilting angles from 15° to −45° depending on the applied DC voltage of 0~4 VDC, preserving high flatness of the tilting membrane. This stable and statically actuated SRM-mirror spurs diverse micro-optic applications such as optical sensing, beam alignment, or optical switching. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced MEMS and Optical System Assembly and Integration)
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Article
Geometric Methods for Efficient Planar Swimming of Copepod Nauplii
Micromachines 2021, 12(6), 706; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12060706 - 16 Jun 2021
Abstract
Copepod nauplii are larval crustaceans with important ecological functions. Due to their small size, they experience an environment of low Reynolds number within their aquatic habitat. Here we provide a mathematical model of a swimming copepod nauplius with two legs moving in a [...] Read more.
Copepod nauplii are larval crustaceans with important ecological functions. Due to their small size, they experience an environment of low Reynolds number within their aquatic habitat. Here we provide a mathematical model of a swimming copepod nauplius with two legs moving in a plane. This model allows for both rotation and two-dimensional displacement by the periodic deformation of the swimmer’s body. The system is studied from the framework of optimal control theory, with a simple cost function designed to approximate the mechanical energy expended by the copepod. We find that this model is sufficiently realistic to recreate behavior similar to those of observed copepod nauplii, yet much of the mathematical analysis is tractable. In particular, we show that the system is controllable, but there exist singular configurations where the degree of non-holonomy is non-generic. We also partially characterize the abnormal extremals and provide explicit examples of families of abnormal curves. Finally, we numerically simulate normal extremals and observe some interesting and surprising phenomena. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Microswimmers)
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Article
Numerical Evaluation on Residual Thermal Stress-Induced Delamination at PDMS–Metal Interface of Neural Prostheses
Micromachines 2021, 12(6), 669; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12060669 - 08 Jun 2021
Abstract
The most common failure mode of implantable neural implants has been delamination of layers in compound structures and encapsulations in a wet body environment. Current knowledge of failure mechanisms of adhesion and its standardized test procedures are lacking and must be established. This [...] Read more.
The most common failure mode of implantable neural implants has been delamination of layers in compound structures and encapsulations in a wet body environment. Current knowledge of failure mechanisms of adhesion and its standardized test procedures are lacking and must be established. This study demonstrated a combined experimental and numerical method to investigate the residual stresses from one of the most common encapsulation materials, silicone rubber (polydimethylsiloxane-PDMS) during the coating process at elevated temperatures. Measured shrinkage of test specimen correlates well to a modified shrinkage model using thermal-mechanical finite element method (FEM) simulation. All simulated interfacial stresses show stress concentration at the PDMS coating front depending on curing temperature and coating thickness, while Griffith’s condition estimated the delamination of the coating front. This study emphasizes the understanding of the interfacial delamination giving the possibility to predict failure mode of neural interface. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Implantable Neural Interfaces)
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Article
A Comparison between Finite Element Model (FEM) Simulation and an Integrated Artificial Neural Network (ANN)-Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) Approach to Forecast Performances of Micro Electro Discharge Machining (Micro-EDM) Drilling
Micromachines 2021, 12(6), 667; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12060667 - 07 Jun 2021
Cited by 2
Abstract
Artificial Neural Network (ANN), together with a Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) and Finite Element Model (FEM), was used to forecast the process performances for the Micro Electrical Discharge Machining (micro-EDM) drilling process. The integrated ANN-PSO methodology has a double direction functionality, responding to [...] Read more.
Artificial Neural Network (ANN), together with a Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) and Finite Element Model (FEM), was used to forecast the process performances for the Micro Electrical Discharge Machining (micro-EDM) drilling process. The integrated ANN-PSO methodology has a double direction functionality, responding to different industrial needs. It allows to optimize the process parameters as a function of the required performances and, at the same time, it allows to forecast the process performances fixing the process parameters. The functionality is strictly related to the input and/or output fixed in the model. The FEM model was based on the capacity of modeling the removal process through the mesh element deletion, simulating electrical discharges through a proper heat-flux. This paper compares these prevision models, relating the expected results with the experimental data. In general, the results show that the integrated ANN-PSO methodology is more accurate in the performance previsions. Furthermore, the ANN-PSO model is faster and easier to apply, but it requires a large amount of historical data for the ANN training. On the contrary, the FEM is more complex to set up, since many physical and thermal characteristics of the materials are necessary, and a great deal of time is required for a single simulation. Full article
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Article
In Vivo Assessment of Hypoxia Levels in Pancreatic Tumors Using a Dual-Modality Ultrasound/Photoacoustic Imaging System
Micromachines 2021, 12(6), 668; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12060668 - 07 Jun 2021
Abstract
Noninvasive anatomical and functional imaging has become an essential tool to evaluate tissue oxygen saturation dynamics in preclinical or clinical studies of hypoxia. Our dual-wavelength technique for photoacoustic (PA) imaging based on the differential absorbance spectrum of oxyhemoglobin (oxy-Hb) and deoxyhemoglobin (deoxy-Hb) can [...] Read more.
Noninvasive anatomical and functional imaging has become an essential tool to evaluate tissue oxygen saturation dynamics in preclinical or clinical studies of hypoxia. Our dual-wavelength technique for photoacoustic (PA) imaging based on the differential absorbance spectrum of oxyhemoglobin (oxy-Hb) and deoxyhemoglobin (deoxy-Hb) can quantify tissue oxygen saturation using the intrinsic contrast property. PA imaging of tissue oxygen saturation can be used to monitor tumor-related hypoxia, which is a particularly relevant functional parameter of the tumor microenvironment that has a strong influence on tumor aggressiveness. The simultaneous acquisition of anatomical and functional information using dual-modality ultrasound (US) and PA imaging technology enhances the preclinical applicability of the method. Here, the developed dual-modality US/PA system was used to measure relative tissue oxygenation using the dual-wavelength technique. Tissue oxygen saturation was quantified in a pancreatic tumor mouse model. The differences in tissue oxygenation were detected by comparing pancreatic samples from normal and tumor-bearing mice at various time points after implantation. The use of an in vivo pancreatic tumor model revealed changes in hypoxia at various stages of tumor growth. The US/PA imaging data positively correlated with the results of immunohistochemical staining for hypoxia. Thus, our dual-modality US/PA imaging system can be used to reliably assess and monitor hypoxia in pancreatic tumor mouse models. These findings enable the use of a combination of US and PA imaging to acquire anatomical and functional information on tumor growth and to evaluate treatment responses in longitudinal preclinical studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue MEMS for Ultrasound)
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Article
In Vivo Microelectrode Arrays for Detecting Multi-Region Epileptic Activities in the Hippocampus in the Latent Period of Rat Model of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy
Micromachines 2021, 12(6), 659; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12060659 - 03 Jun 2021
Abstract
Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is a form of refractory focal epilepsy, which includes a latent period and a chronic period. Microelectrode arrays capable of multi-region detection of neural activities are important for accurately identifying the epileptic focus and pathogenesis mechanism in the latent [...] Read more.
Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is a form of refractory focal epilepsy, which includes a latent period and a chronic period. Microelectrode arrays capable of multi-region detection of neural activities are important for accurately identifying the epileptic focus and pathogenesis mechanism in the latent period of TLE. Here, we fabricated multi-shank MEAs to detect neural activities in the DG, hilus, CA3, and CA1 in the TLE rat model. In the latent period in TLE rats, seizures were induced and changes in neural activities were detected. The results showed that induced seizures spread from the hilus and CA3 to other areas. Furthermore, interneurons in the hilus and CA3 were more excited than principal cells and exhibited rhythmic oscillations at approximately 15 Hz in grand mal seizures. In addition, the power spectral density (PSD) of neural spikes and local field potentials (LFPs) were synchronized in the frequency domain of the alpha band (9–15 Hz) after the induction of seizures. The results suggest that fabricated MEAs have the advantages of simultaneous and precise detection of neural activities in multiple subregions of the hippocampus. Our MEAs promote the study of cellular mechanisms of TLE during the latent period, which provides an important basis for the diagnosis of the lesion focus of TLE. Full article
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Article
Modular and Self-Contained Microfluidic Analytical Platforms Enabled by Magnetorheological Elastomer Microactuators
Micromachines 2021, 12(6), 604; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12060604 - 23 May 2021
Cited by 2
Abstract
Portability and low-cost analytic ability are desirable for point-of-care (POC) diagnostics; however, current POC testing platforms often require time-consuming multiple microfabrication steps and rely on bulky and costly equipment. This hinders the capability of microfluidics to prove its power outside of laboratories and [...] Read more.
Portability and low-cost analytic ability are desirable for point-of-care (POC) diagnostics; however, current POC testing platforms often require time-consuming multiple microfabrication steps and rely on bulky and costly equipment. This hinders the capability of microfluidics to prove its power outside of laboratories and narrows the range of applications. This paper details a self-contained microfluidic device, which does not require any external connection or tubing to deliver insert-and-use image-based analysis. Without any microfabrication, magnetorheological elastomer (MRE) microactuators including pumps, mixers and valves are integrated into one modular microfluidic chip based on novel manipulation principles. By inserting the chip into the driving and controlling platform, the system demonstrates sample preparation and sequential pumping processes. Furthermore, due to the straightforward fabrication process, chips can be rapidly reconfigured at a low cost, which validates the robustness and versatility of an MRE-enabled microfluidic platform as an option for developing an integrated lab-on-a-chip system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section D:Materials and Processing)
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Article
Printing a Pacinian Corpuscle: Modeling and Performance
Micromachines 2021, 12(5), 574; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12050574 - 18 May 2021
Abstract
The Pacinian corpuscle is a highly sensitive mammalian sensor cell that exhibits a unique band-pass sensitivity to vibrations. The cell achieves this band-pass response through the use of 20 to 70 elastic layers entrapping layers of viscous fluid. This paper develops and explores [...] Read more.
The Pacinian corpuscle is a highly sensitive mammalian sensor cell that exhibits a unique band-pass sensitivity to vibrations. The cell achieves this band-pass response through the use of 20 to 70 elastic layers entrapping layers of viscous fluid. This paper develops and explores a scalable mechanical model of the Pacinian corpuscle and uses the model to predict the response of synthetic corpuscles, which could be the basis for future vibration sensors. The −3dB point of the biological cell is accurately mimicked using the geometries and materials available with off-the-shelf 3D printers. The artificial corpuscles here are constructed using uncured photoresist within structures printed in a commercial stereolithography (SLA) 3D printer, allowing the creation of trapped fluid layers analogous to the biological cell. Multi-layer artificial Pacinian corpuscles are vibration tested over the range of 20–3000 Hz and the response is in good agreement with the model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomaterials and Biomanufacturing)
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Article
Three-Dimensional Arterial Pulse Signal Acquisition in Time Domain Using Flexible Pressure-Sensor Dense Arrays
Micromachines 2021, 12(5), 569; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12050569 - 17 May 2021
Cited by 2
Abstract
In this study, we developed a radial artery pulse acquisition system based on finger-worn dense pressure sensor arrays to enable three-dimensional pulse signals acquisition. The finger-worn dense pressure-sensor arrays were fabricated by packaging 18 ultra-small MEMS pressure sensors (0.4 mm × 0.4 mm [...] Read more.
In this study, we developed a radial artery pulse acquisition system based on finger-worn dense pressure sensor arrays to enable three-dimensional pulse signals acquisition. The finger-worn dense pressure-sensor arrays were fabricated by packaging 18 ultra-small MEMS pressure sensors (0.4 mm × 0.4 mm × 0.2 mm each) with a pitch of 0.65 mm on flexible printed circuit boards. Pulse signals are measured and recorded simultaneously when traditional Chinese medicine practitioners wear the arrays on the fingers while palpating the radial pulse. Given that the pitches are much smaller than the diameter of the human radial artery, three-dimensional pulse envelope images can be measured with the system, as can the width and the dynamic width of the pulse signals. Furthermore, the array has an effective span of 11.6 mm—3–5 times the diameter of the radial artery—which enables easy and accurate positioning of the sensor array on the radial artery. This study also outlines proposed methods for measuring the pulse width and dynamic pulse width. The dynamic pulse widths of three volunteers were measured, and the dynamic pulse width measurements were consistent with those obtained by color Doppler ultrasound. The pulse wave velocity can also be measured with the system by measuring the pulse transit time between the pulse signals at the brachial and radial arteries using the finger-worn sensor arrays. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section E:Engineering and Technology)
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Article
A Novel Approach for a Chip-Sized Scanning Optical Microscope
Micromachines 2021, 12(5), 527; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12050527 - 06 May 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
The recent advances in chip-size microscopy based on optical scanning with spatially resolved nano-illumination light sources are presented. This new straightforward technique takes advantage of the currently achieved miniaturization of LEDs in fully addressable arrays. These nano-LEDs are used to scan the sample [...] Read more.
The recent advances in chip-size microscopy based on optical scanning with spatially resolved nano-illumination light sources are presented. This new straightforward technique takes advantage of the currently achieved miniaturization of LEDs in fully addressable arrays. These nano-LEDs are used to scan the sample with a resolution comparable to the LED sizes, giving rise to chip-sized scanning optical microscopes without mechanical parts or optical accessories. The operation principle and the potential of this new kind of microscope are analyzed through three different implementations of decreasing LED dimensions from 20 µm down to 200 nm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue nano FIS 2020—Integrated Functional nano Systems)
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Article
Direct Writing of Cu Patterns on Polydimethylsiloxane Substrates Using Femtosecond Laser Pulse-Induced Reduction of Glyoxylic Acid Copper Complex
Micromachines 2021, 12(5), 493; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12050493 - 27 Apr 2021
Abstract
We investigate the direct writing properties of copper (Cu) patterns on glass and polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) substrates using femtosecond laser pulse-induced thermochemical reduction of glyoxylic acid copper (GACu) complex. The films of the GACu complex coated on the substrates were irradiated by focused femtosecond [...] Read more.
We investigate the direct writing properties of copper (Cu) patterns on glass and polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) substrates using femtosecond laser pulse-induced thermochemical reduction of glyoxylic acid copper (GACu) complex. The films of the GACu complex coated on the substrates were irradiated by focused femtosecond laser pulses using a low numerical aperture of 0.45. Under the same conditions, such as laser scanning speed and pulse energy, the width of the line patterns fabricated on PDMS substrates was larger than that on glass substrates. X-ray diffraction peaks of the patterns on glass substrates corresponded to Cu without significant oxidation. By contrast, although Cu patterns were fabricated on PDMS substrates at a scanning speed of 10 mm/s and pulse energy of 0.49 nJ, Cu2O was also generated under overheating conditions at a scanning speed of 1 mm/s and pulse energy of 0.37 nJ. All the patterns exhibited electrical conductivity. The minimum resistivity of the patterns on PDMS substrates is 1.4 × 10−5 Ωm, which is 10 times higher than that on glass substrates, indicating that microcracks formed by thermal shrinkage of the substrates during the laser irradiation increase the resistivity. This direct Cu writing technique on soft materials is useful for fabricating flexible microdevices. Full article
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Article
Switchable Transducers in GaN MEMS Resonators: Performance Comparison and Analysis
Micromachines 2021, 12(4), 461; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12040461 - 19 Apr 2021
Abstract
This work presents a comprehensive comparison of switchable electromechanical transducers in an AlN/GaN heterostructure toward the goal of reconfigurable RF building blocks in next-generation ad hoc radios. The transducers’ inherent switching was achieved by depleting a 2D electron gas (2DEG) channel, allowing an [...] Read more.
This work presents a comprehensive comparison of switchable electromechanical transducers in an AlN/GaN heterostructure toward the goal of reconfigurable RF building blocks in next-generation ad hoc radios. The transducers’ inherent switching was achieved by depleting a 2D electron gas (2DEG) channel, allowing an RF signal launched by interdigital transducers (IDTs) to effectively excite the symmetric (So) Lamb mode of vibration in the piezoelectric membrane. Different configurations for applying DC bias to the channel for electromechanical actuation in the piezoelectric are discussed. Complete suppression of the mechanical mode was achieved with the transducers in the OFF state. Equivalent circuit models were developed to extract parameters from measurements by fitting in both ON and OFF states. This is the first time that an extensive comparative study of the performance of different switchable transducers in their ON/OFF state is presented along with frequency scaling of the resonant mode. The switchable transducer with Ohmic IDTs and a Schottky control gate showed superior performance among the designs under consideration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nitrides and Carbides MEMS/NEMS)
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Article
Color-Tunable White LEDs with Single Chip Realized through Phosphor Pattern and Thermal-Modulating Optical Film
Micromachines 2021, 12(4), 421; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12040421 - 12 Apr 2021
Abstract
In this paper, a new method to regulate the correlated color temperature (CCT) of white light-emitting diodes (LEDs) is proposed for the single-chip packaging structure, in which the blue light distribution emitted from the chip in the red/yellow phosphor layer was modulated through [...] Read more.
In this paper, a new method to regulate the correlated color temperature (CCT) of white light-emitting diodes (LEDs) is proposed for the single-chip packaging structure, in which the blue light distribution emitted from the chip in the red/yellow phosphor layer was modulated through changing the paraffin-polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) film transparence and haze. The results show that the transmittance of the paraffin-PDMS film can be modulated from 49.76% to 97.64%, while the haze of that ranges from 88.19% to 63.10%. When the thickness of paraffin-PDMS film is 0.6 mm, and the paraffin-PDMS film concentration is 30 wt%, the CCT of white LED decreases from 15177 K to 3615 K with the increase of thermal load in the paraffin-PDMS film. The modulating range of its CCT reaches 11562 K. The maximum CCT variation at the same test condition is only 536 K in the repeated experiments within one week. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microsystem for Electronic Devices)
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