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ECE PhD Dissertation Defense: Neville Sun

April 12, 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

PhD Dissertation Defense: RF Magnetoelectric Devices for Communication, Sensing, and Power Electronics

Neville Sun

Location: Zoom Link

Abstract: A strong magnetoelectric (ME) coupling of layered magnetic/ferroelectric heterostructures can effectively convert energy between electric and magnetic fields. By utilizing strain mediated ME coupling, it is possible to use an electric field to control magnetic film properties, such as magnetization, permeability, and spin wave. Additionally, an applied magnetic field can be used to control electric polarization. In this talk, ME voltage tunable inductors and ME acoustically actuated mechanical antennas/sensors are demonstrated and analyzed with different heterostructure compositions and design considerations for improving device performance.
The first part examines a new class of voltage tunable magnetoelectric inductors with textured multiferroic cores consisting of a Metglas/piezoelectric laminate/Metglas composite for MHz adaptive power systems. These inductors demonstrate a large, instantaneous, and non-discrete tunable range with a wide operational frequency range from DC to 10 MHz. A tunable inductance range of up to 346% was achieved with an applied electric field of 24 kV/cm. However, low voltage tunability is miniscule, typically less than 6% at 30 V applied voltage. By optimizing the anisotropy of magnetoelastic stress, a 50 um thick PMN-PT slab is shown to improve low voltage tuning by 6 times. These ME tunable inductors with low driving voltage provide adaptability for changing circuit conditions and are ideal for compact/lightweight power systems for electronic warfare and communication systems.
The second device of interest is a new MEMS ME antenna/sensor design based on the solidly mounted resonator (SMR) structure. The SMR replaces the freestanding membrane structure of a film-bulk acoustic resonator (FBAR) with a Bragg acoustic reflector for concentrated energy confinement while improving structural integrity and power handling. The antenna radiates using converse ME coupling physics while receiving and sensing EM waves by using direct ME coupling. A unique spin sprayed NiZn ferrite/AlN structure and performance characterization for arrayed resonators are presented. The acoustic resonance in the heterostructure films operates at UHF range for seamless on-chip integration with WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS devices. The robust features of the sub-mm size SMR ME antenna are demonstrated in a miniature aerial drone communication system and provide a possible alternative for biomedical implantables for neurological studies.


April 12, 2021
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm


Electrical and Computer Engineering
MS/PhD Thesis Defense