Powering the Next-Generation Internet-of-Things
ActiveMEMS is developing advanced microfabrication technology enabling the integration of high-quality piezoelectric materials and transducers into micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) manufacturing. This will accommodate the power needs of next-generation wireless sensors and Internet of Things networks, as well as the performance needs of high-resolution ultrasound and acoustic transducers for consumer and biomedical applications.
Erkan Aktakka founded ActiveMEMS to commercialize his decade-long research on micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 2012 and has been a research faculty member since 2016. During his research, he invented advanced microfabrication technologies and various high-performance micro transducers. His research has resulted in over 30 publications, multiple patents, press coverage by BBC News, IEEE Spectrum, and EETimes, and seminars at top research institutes, including MIT, Harvard University, UC Berkeley, ETH-Zurich. Aktakka has received the University of Michigan Distinguished Achievement Award and DTE Clean Energy Prize and has served as a Technical Program Committee member at the international conferences of PowerMEMS and IEEE Sensors. He has over more than 10 years of experience in full-cycle prototype development.
Leading MEMS expert Khalil Najafi, who chairs the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at the University of Michigan and has deep experience in technology transfer, serves on the ActiveMEMS advisory board.
Piezoelectric materials provide direct transduction between mechanical and electrical energy and are used in a wide variety of applications including actuators, sensors and energy harvesters. However, existing piezoelectric thin films must be fabricated at high-temperatures and, more importantly, are limited by low electromechanical coupling and can only be deposited in films thicker than a few micrometers. These factors make integration of piezoelectric materials into microsystems challenging and have limited the performance of piezoelectric micro devices.
Compared to the most popular piezoelectric thin films today (e.g. sputtered AlN, sputtered PZT, sol-gel PZT), our microfabrication technology enables us to achieve the highest energy conversion efficiency on silicon and a wide range of material thickness that is optimum for micro transducers.
Our technology platform aims to enable solutions for a wide range of applications, from power-dense energy harvesters for wireless sensors to high-resolution ultrasound/acoustic transducers for consumer and biomedical applications.
We invented a new microfabrication technology, which allows wafer-level and post-CMOS compatible integration of high-quality piezoelectric materials on silicon. Our process technology provides the highest electromechanical coupling factor and piezoelectric strain coefficient among any other film deposition methods available in the semiconductor industry today. Plus, we’ve achieved a wide range of piezoelectric material thickness on silicon that is optimum for micro transducers and demonstrated energy harvesters and actuators with the highest electromechanical energy conversion efficiency.
Our initial target markets are manufacturers of sensor and IoT systems that serve manufacturing and consumer electronics industries, where improved micro energy harvesters and transducers will address the power and performance needs of next generation wireless sensors in energy-autonomous IoT networks and portable consumer electronics.
Potential for Impact
Manufacturing high-quality piezoelectric layers on silicon and heterogeneous integration on CMOS will enable not only existing micro actuators and sensors to achieve unprecedented performance and efficiency, but also new device architectures and applications.
ActiveMEMS is Looking for...
- Technical collaborators
- Joint development partners
- Techno-economic analysis
- Team members - scientist, engineers
- Team members - business, interns
info [at] activemems [dot] com
Header image: Susan