About ARL Research

Micro-nano Systems Laboratory

  • Bio-nanotech
  • Energy harvester

Micro-nano Systems for biotechnology, nanotechnology, and energy harvesting

In this laboratory, microelectromechanical system (MEMS) design, fabrication, and its application to nano and bio technologies, as well as vibrational energy harvesters, are investigated. Research on nano-scale science and engineering using MEMS devices covers the electro-mechano-thermal characterization of nano-contacts in transmission electron microscopes (TEMs) for in-situ atomic level observations of shapes and dimensions. MEMS tweezers have been developed for capturing, handling, and characterizing DNA, as well as other linear molecules.

Research staff

Research activities

Overall topics

MEMS tools for single cell or molecular manipulation and characterization features

  • ・The structural size and motion accuracy of MEMS devices range from micrometers to nanometers, which allows precise manipulation and measurement of individual cells and molecules
  • ・The mechanical properties that represent the biochemical changes of cells and molecules can be monitored in real-time during drug exposure or temperature changes
  • ・Additionally, the use of microfluidic devices and chemical sensors allows a wide variety of experiments

In-situ TEM observations using MEMS-in-TEM setup features

  • ・The electrical, mechanical, thermal, and biochemical properties of a nano-object are measured simultaneously during TEM-atomic-level observation
  • ・MEMS chips have multiple functions such as mechanical stress application, thermal control, and liquid encapsulation.
  • ・Monolithic silicon structures and electrostatic actuation enable very stable observations over several hours

MEMS vibrational energy harvester features

  • ・Electrical power as high as 1 mW can be generated from faint environmental vibrations (~0.1 G)
  • ・Mass fabrication based on MEMS technology is possible
  • ・High conversion efficiency can be achieved due to strong electret formation in a high-aspect-ratio gap