Research Thrusts comprise the basic organizational structure of the WIMS2 Engineering Research Center (ERC). Lead by a senior faculty member, a thrust provides a technology or application focus for integrating individual research areas into a cohesive interdisciplinary research program. The WIMS2 Center has 4 technology-based Thrusts (Advanced Materials, Processes, and Packaging; High Frequency MEMS; Micropower Integrated Circuits; and Wireless Interfaces); and 3 application-based Thrusts (Biomedical Sensors and Subsystems; Built Environment Sensing; and Environmental Sensors and Subsystems).
Biomedical Sensors and Subsystems
- Implantable Biomedical Devices
- Neural Interface and Microsystems
- Microfluidic Assay Chips
- Point-of-Care Diagnostics
The Biomedical Sensors and Subsystems Thrust is developing electronic interfaces to living systems for the gathering of diagnostic information and to provide treatment for various diseases and functional disorders. The thrust studies implanted devices for chronic monitoring of physiological, biochemical and vital signals as well as ex-situ devices for diagnostics of diseases, screening of drug efficacy and immune responses.
Built Environment Sensing
Dramatic reductions in cost combined with enhanced functionalities are driving increasing adoption of sensors in the built environment. This Thrust undertakes basic and applied research aimed to develop novel sensors, sensor network architectures, and in-network computing methods to monitor large-scale infrastructure systems. Applications targeted by the Thrust range from monitoring the health of bridges to the monitoring and control of building energy systems.
Environmental Sensors and Subsystems
- Complex Mixtures
- Field Prototypes
The Environmental Sensors and Subsystems (ESS) Thrust is developing MEMS sensors, actuators, and micro-instrumentation for analyzing complex mixtures of chemicals in air and biological media, as well as a range of physical parameters. These devices and multi-device ensembles serve as the information-gathering modules of wireless microsystems whose small size, accuracy, and low-power dissipation will enable their widespread dissemination in applications ranging from homeland security, environmental- quality monitoring, industrial process control, and global climate studies, to biomarker monitoring, and medical surveillance.
Advanced Materials, Processes, and Packaging
- Device Concepts
- Non-Traditional Materials
- Vacuum Packaging
- Wafer-Level Packaging
- Wafer Bonding
Successful development of MEMS and microsystems requires a number of technologies for their fabrication, assembly, and low-cost packaging. The Thrust includes research in the following general areas: wafer-scale bonding and vacuum packaging; assembly, interconnect, and related thin-film technologies; etching and deposition methods for new materials and exploratory applications; and mechanical protection and thermal issues.
High Frequency MEMS
- RF MEMS
- Terahertz MEMS
- Optical MEMS
The High Frequency MEMS Thrust undertakes research in three subject areas: RF MEMS, Optical MEMS, and THz MEMS, all from basic science as well as applied research perspectives. The Thrust is exploring advanced RF devices and microsystems, high-Q optical and acoustic resonators, terahertz modulators, imagers and sources, miniaturized antennas, MEMS meta-materials, plasmonics, and near-field optics. The microsystems developed under this thrust have applications in reconfigurable radios, medical and subsurface imaging, satellite mapping, and remote sensing, to name a few.
Micropower Integrated Circuits
- Low-Power Circuits
- New Architectures
- System Software
- Power Management
- Energy Harvesting
The Micropower Integrated Circuits Thrust aims at greatly reducing the power budgets of integrated circuits by using a range of techniques that are suitable for incorporation into generic microsystems. Both digital and analog circuits are targeted, with primary emphasis on the digital processing domain. The Thrust includes energy harvesting work and focuses on system-level power reduction across all components of emerging wireless microsystems.
- Digital Dominant Wireless
- Complete Wireless Systems
- Efficient Antennas
- New Architectures
- Low-Power Transceivers
The Wireless Interfaces Thrust undertakes basic and applied research in wire- less interfaces for environmental and biomedical sensor devices. The Thrust is exploring CMOS RF, miniature antennas, and sensor networking; developing wireless interfaces to neural probes, cochlear implants, and other biomedical devices such as arterial stent monitors; exploring techniques for moderate range, moderate rate, wireless communication to environmental sensors.