Low-Cost Fabrication of an Integrated, Self-Sufficient MEMS Skin
One of the ultimate goals of sensor research is to build an integrated unit that harnesses its energy from its surroundings and reacts to, and transmits, any changes in its environment in a predictable and reliable manner. There are several components to this universal goal of a self-contained sensor unit: the power module, the sensor module, the control module, and the transmission module. The goal of this proposal is to develop a whole class of truly stand-alone, large-area, distributed sensor systems on a flexible substrate ? a MEMS skin. We propose to use a two-layer flexible substrate. The first would be a copper-on-flex substrate that acts as the interconnect layer for power distribution. The second is a Si-on-flex substrate that contains the power, sensor and circuit systems. This layer would utilize a thin film amorphous Si solar cell, integrated with Anvik?s technology to integrate MEMS and IC devices. The two substrate layers would be connected using micro-via patterns in the Si-on-flex layer that can be generated using Anvik?s photo-ablation systems. Finally, using Anvik?s large-area processing capabilities we will extend this process to create a distributed sensor array that could be used in spacecraft ?health-monitoring? applications.
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