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ECE MS Thesis Defense: Sila Deniz Calisgan

November 30, 2020 @ 9:30 am - 10:30 am

MS Thesis Defense: MEMS Infrared Resonant Detectors With Near-Zero Power Readout For Miniaturized Low Power Systems

Sila Deniz Calisgan

Location: Online

Abstract: The demand for low-cost and low-power microsystems for spectrally-selective IR sensing has been rising with the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) for applications such as security surveillance and natural disaster monitoring. As a result, there is a need for low-power, high sensitivity IR sensors with minimum deployment and maintenance cost that can detect trace levels of chemicals. This thesis reports on the first experimental demonstrations of passive integrated microsystems based on transmission spectroscopy using narrowband uncooled microelectromechanical resonant infrared (IR) detectors. Moreover, the MEMS-CMOS integrated microsystem can turn itself ON to quantify the intensity of infrared radiation when an above-threshold IR signature is present, but otherwise remain dormant with near-zero standby power consumption. The proposed sensor system combines the unique advantage of two recently developed technologies, namely, the zero-power nature of micromechanical photoswitches (MPs) and the high resolution of aluminum nitride (AlN) MEMS resonant infrared detectors, to achieve an unprecedented IR sensing capability. Thanks to the spectral selectivity enabled by the plasmonically enhanced thermo-mechanical transduction in MEMS structures, the proposed sensor system is capable of discriminating the spectral content of incoming IR radiation for the identification of events of interest. The prototype presented here is automatically powered up by the MP when the incoming IR radiation exceeds 440 nW showing a high IR detection resolution in active state and a near-zero power consumption (~3 nW) in standby. The ultrathin plasmonic absorber with narrow bandwidth (FWHM<17% ) and near-perfect IR absorption (η>92%) coupled with the high IR detection capability ( NEP~ 463 pW/√Hz) of the AlN resonator was exploited for a filter-free spectroscopic chemical sensor based on uncooled AlN resonant IR detectors with a minimum concentration detection limit of <0.01% (Benzonitrile in Hexane).