MEMS

USING MEMS FOR HIGH PERFORMANCE IN SMALL SPACES

MEMS, or microelectromechanical systems, refers to an application where a transducer is fabricated in silicon using microfabrication technology. While we are a fabless company, the team at Silicon Audio has extensive experience in MEMS and draws upon that expertise to achieve performance advantages in microscopic systems.

In particular, microfabrication techniques are stellar at producing flat surfaces with tight tolerances. At Silicon Audio, we leverage these advantages to construct optical interferometer technology for high-fidelity displacement sensing at the small scale. We also leverage microfabrication technology to realize small-scale piezoelectric microphones and a special class of directional piezoelectric microphones that otherwise would not be feasible to create at the macroscale. As an example, a microphone inspired by the hearing organ of a special fly requires the patterning of piezoelectric thin films, less than 1 micrometer thick, to transduce the complex motion of a miniature structure smaller than 1mm x 2mm.


MEMS IN OUR PRODUCTS

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OMNIDIRECTIONAL MICROPHONE

Silicon Audio uses MEMS to build the optical interferometer in our omnidirectional microphone, achieving superior signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) in a highly compact unit.

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DIRECTIONAL MICROPHONE

We also use microfabrication technology to construct small-scale piezoelectric microphones that have inherent directionality.

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ON-CHIP CIRCULATOR

Future plans for the circulator include a monolithic silicon-based embodiment for targeted applications where size and linearity are of particular concern.

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OUR MEMS WORK AND RESEARCH

D. Kim, M. L. Kuntzman, and N. A. Hall, "A Rotational Capacitive Micromachined Ultrasonic Transducer (RCMUT) with an Internally Sealed Pivot," IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control (TUFFC),2014 (accepted/in production).

M. L. Kuntzman, D. Kim, and N. A. Hall, "Microfabrication and Experimental Evaluation of a Rotational Capacitive Micromachined Ultrasonic Transducer,"Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems, vol. PP(99), pp. 1-1, July 2014.

M. L. Kuntzman and N. A. Hall, "A Broadband, Capacitive, Surface-Micromachined, Omnidirectional Microphone with more than 200 kHz Bandwidth," The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, vol. 135, pp. 3416-3424, June 2014.

M. L. Kuntzman and N. A. Hall, "Rotational Capacitive Micromachined Ultrasonic Transducers (cMUTs)," Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems, vol. 23(1), pp. 1-3, February 2014.

N. N. Hewa-Kasakarage, D. Kim, M. L. Kuntzman, and N. A. Hall, "Micromachined Piezoelectric Accelerometers via Epitaxial Silicon Cantilevers and Bulk Silicon Proof Masses," Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems, vol. 22(6), pp. 1438-1446, December 2013.

M. L. Kuntzman, D. Kim, N. N. Hewa-Kasakarage, K. D. Kirk, and N. A. Hall, "Network Modeling of Multiple-Port, Multiple-Vibration-Mode Transducers and Resonators," Sensors and Actuators A: Physical, vol. 201, pp. 93-100, October 2013.

J. W. Suk, K. Kirk, Y. Hao, N. A. Hall, and R. S. Ruoff, "Thermoacoustic Sound Generation from Monolayer Graphene for Transparent and Flexible Sound Sources," Advanced Materials, vol. 24(47), pp. 6342-6347, December 2012.

D. Kim, N. N. Hewa-Kasakarage, S. Yoon, and N. A. Hall, "On the Minimum Coupling Required for Maximum Theoretical Power Capture from Vibration Energy Harvesters," Applied Physics Letters, vol. 101, pp. 103904-3, September 2012.

S.-Y. Peng, M. S. Qureshi, P. E. Hasler, N. A. Hall, and F. L. Degertekin, "High SNR Capacitive Sensing Transducer," in 2006 IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems, Island of Kos, Greece, 2006, pp. 1175-1178.