SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: Micromachines

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Thermal nanoimprint lithography is playing a vital role in fabricating micro/nanostructures on polymer materials by the advantages of low cost, high throughput, and high resolution. However, a typical thermal nanoimprint process usually takes tens of minutes due to the relatively low heating and cooling rate in the thermal imprint cycle. In this study, we developed an induction heating apparatus for the thermal imprint with a mold made of ferromagnetic material, nickel. By applying an external high-frequency alternating magnetic field, heat was generated by the eddy currents and magnetic hysteresis losses of the ferromagnetic nickel mold at high speed. Once the external alternating magnetic field was cut off, the system would cool down fast owe to the small thermal capacity of the nickel mold; thus, providing a high heating and cooling rate for the thermal nanoimprint process. In this paper, nanostructures were successfully replicated onto polymer sheets with the scale of 4-inch diameter within 5 min.

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In this paper, a double piezoelectric layer acceleration sensor based on Li-doped ZnO (LZO) thin film is presented. It is constituted by Pt/LZO/Pt/LZO/Pt/Ti functional layers and a Si cantilever beam with a proof mass. The LZO thin films were prepared by radio frequency (RF) magnetron sputtering. The composition, chemical structure, surface morphology, and thickness of the LZO thin film were analyzed. In order to study the effect of double piezoelectric layers on the sensitivity of the acceleration sensor, we designed two structural models (single and double piezoelectric layers) and fabricated them by using micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) technology. The test results show that the resonance frequency of the acceleration sensor was 1363 Hz. The sensitivity of the double piezoelectric layer was 33.1 mV/g, which is higher than the 26.1 mV/g of single piezoelectric layer sensitivity, both at a resonance frequency of 1363 Hz.

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The super-precise theory for machining single crystal SiC substrates with abrasives needs to be improved for its chemical stability, extremely hard and brittle. A Berkovich indenter was used to carry out a systematic static stiffness indentation experiments on single crystal 6H-SiC substrates, and then these substrates were machined by utilizing fixed, free, and semi-fixed abrasives, and the nanomechanical characteristics and material removal mechanisms using abrasives in different fixed methods were analyzed theoretically. The results indicated that the hardness of C faces and Si faces of single crystal 6H-SiC under 500 mN load were 38.596 Gpa and 36.246 Gpa respectively, and their elastic moduli were 563.019 Gpa and 524.839 Gpa, respectively. Moreover, the theoretical critical loads for the plastic transition and brittle fracture of C face of single crystal 6H-SiC were 1.941 mN and 366.8 mN, while those of Si face were 1.77 mN and 488.67 mN, respectively. The 6H-SiC materials were removed by pure brittle rolling under three-body friction with free abrasives, and the process parameters determined the material removal modes of 6H-SiC substrates by grinding with fixed abrasives, nevertheless, the materials were removed under full elastic-plastic deformation in cluster magnetorheological finishing with semi-fixed abrasives.

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Electric field-based smart wetting manipulation is one of the extensively used techniques in modern surface science and engineering, especially in microfluidics and optofluidics applications. Liquid dielectrophoresis (LDEP) is a technique involving the manipulation of dielectric liquid motion via the polarization effect using a non-homogeneous electric field. The LDEP technique was mainly dedicated to the actuation of dielectric and aqueous liquids in microfluidics systems. Recently, a new concept called dielectrowetting was demonstrated by which the wettability of a dielectric liquid droplet can be reversibly manipulated via a highly localized LDEP force at the three-phase contact line of the droplet. Although dielectrowetting is principally very different from electrowetting on dielectrics (EWOD), it has the capability to spread a dielectric droplet into a thin liquid film with the application of sufficiently high voltage, overcoming the contact-angle saturation encountered in EWOD. The strength of dielectrowetting depends on the ratio of the penetration depth of the electric field inside the dielectric liquid and the difference between the dielectric constants of the liquid and its ambient medium. Since the introduction of the dielectrowetting technique, significant progress in the field encompassing various real-life applications was demonstrated in recent decades. In this paper, we review and discuss the governing forces and basic principles of LDEP, the mechanism of interface localization of LDEP for dielectrowetting, related phenomenon, and their recent applications, with an outlook on the future research.

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Flexible transparent conductive electrodes (TCEs) are widely applied in flexible electronic devices. Among these electrodes, silver (Ag) nanowires (NWs) have gained considerable interests due to their excellent electrical and optical performances. Ag NWs with a one-dimensional nanostructure have unique characteristics from those of bulk Ag. In past 10 years, researchers have proposed various synthesis methods of Ag NWs, such as ultraviolet irradiation, template method, polyol method, etc. These methods are discussed and summarized in this review, and we conclude that the advantages of the polyol method are the most obvious. This review also provides a more comprehensive description of the polyol method for the synthesis of Ag NWs, and the synthetic factors including AgNO3 concentration, addition of other metal salts and polyvinyl pyrrolidone are thoroughly elaborated. Furthermore, several problems in the fabrication of Ag NWs-based TCEs and related devices are reviewed. The prospects for applications of Ag NWs-based TCE in solar cells, electroluminescence, electrochromic devices, flexible energy storage equipment, thin-film heaters and stretchable devices are discussed and summarized in detail.

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Capacitive sensing is a key technique to measure the test mass movement with a high resolution for space-borne gravitational wave detectors, such as Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) and TianQin. The capacitance resolution requirement of TianQin is higher than that of LISA, as the arm length of TianQin is about 15 times shorter. In this paper, the transfer function and capacitance measurement noise of the circuit are modeled and analyzed. Figure-of-merits, including the product of the inductance L and the quality factor Q of the transformer, are proposed to optimize the transformer and the capacitance measurement resolution of the circuit. The LQ product improvement and the resonant frequency augmentation are the key factors to enhance the capacitance measurement resolution. We fabricated a transformer with a high LQ product over a wide frequency band. The evaluation showed that the transformer can generate a capacitance resolution of 0.11 aF/Hz1/2 at a resonant frequency of 200 kHz, and the amplitude of the injection wave would be 0.6 V. This result supports the potential application of the proposed transformer in space-borne gravitational wave detection and demonstrates that it could relieve the stringent requirements for other parameters in the TianQin mission.

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Photocatalytic conversion of CO2 to useful products is an alluring approach for acquiring the two-fold benefits of normalizing excess atmospheric CO2 levels and the production of solar chemicals/fuels. Therefore, photocatalytic materials are continuously being developed with enhanced performance in accordance with their respective domains. In recent years, nanostructured photocatalysts such as one dimensional (1-D), two dimensional (2-D) and three dimensional (3-D)/hierarchical have been a subject of great importance because of their explicit advantages over 0-D photocatalysts, including high surface areas, effective charge separation, directional charge transport, and light trapping/scattering effects. Furthermore, the strategy of doping (metals and non-metals), as well as coupling with a secondary material (noble metals, another semiconductor material, graphene, etc.), of nanostructured photocatalysts has resulted in an amplified photocatalytic performance. In the present review article, various titanium dioxide (TiO2)-based nanostructured photocatalysts are briefly overviewed with respect to their application in photocatalytic CO2 conversion to value-added chemicals. This review primarily focuses on the latest developments in TiO2-based nanostructures, specifically 1-D (TiO2 nanotubes, nanorods, nanowires, nanobelts etc.) and 2-D (TiO2 nanosheets, nanolayers), and the reaction conditions and analysis of key parameters and their role in the up-grading and augmentation of photocatalytic performance. Moreover, TiO2-based 3-D and/or hierarchical nanostructures for CO2 conversions are also briefly scrutinized, as they exhibit excellent performance based on the special nanostructure framework, and can be an exemplary photocatalyst architecture demonstrating an admirable performance in the near future.

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The electron spin degree of freedom can provide the functionality of “nonvolatility” in electronic devices. For example, magnetoresistive random access memory (MRAM) is expected as an ideal nonvolatile working memory, with high speed response, high write endurance, and good compatibility with complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technologies. However, a challenging technical issue is to reduce the operating power. With the present technology, an electrical current is required to control the direction and dynamics of the spin. This consumes high energy when compared with electric-field controlled devices, such as those that are used in the semiconductor industry. A novel approach to overcome this problem is to use the voltage-controlled magnetic anisotropy (VCMA) effect, which draws attention to the development of a new type of MRAM that is controlled by voltage (voltage-torque MRAM). This paper reviews recent progress in experimental demonstrations of the VCMA effect. First, we present an overview of the early experimental observations of the VCMA effect in all-solid state devices, and follow this with an introduction of the concept of the voltage-induced dynamic switching technique. Subsequently, we describe recent progress in understanding of physical origin of the VCMA effect. Finally, new materials research to realize a highly-efficient VCMA effect and the verification of reliable voltage-induced dynamic switching with a low write error rate are introduced, followed by a discussion of the technical challenges that will be encountered in the future development of voltage-torque MRAM.

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This paper presents the design, fabrication, and characterization of an electrothermal MEMS mirror with large tip, tilt and piston scan. This MEMS mirror is based on electrothermal bimorph actuation with Cu and W thin-film layers forming the bimorphs. The MEMS mirror is fabricated via a combination of surface and bulk micromachining. The piston displacement and tip-tilt optical angle of the mirror plate of the fabricated MEMS mirror are around 114 μm and ±8°, respectively at only 2.35 V. The measured response time is 7.3 ms. The piston and tip-tilt resonant frequencies are measured to be 1.5 kHz and 2.7 kHz, respectively. The MEMS mirror survived 220 billion scanning cycles with little change of its scanning characteristics, indicating that the MEMS mirror is stable and reliable.