Hwaider Lin and Nian-Xiang Sun, Northeastern University, Boston, MA USA

Antenna miniaturization has been a fundamental challenge for decades. Conventional small antennas use electric current for radiation that relies on electromagnetic wave resonance, leading to antenna sizes comparable to the electromagnetic wavelength.

This new antenna miniaturization mechanism — acoustically actuated nanomechanical magnetoelectric (ME) antennas — could successfully miniaturize by magnitude of 1-2 orders using magnetic current for radiation. The ME antennas open up a variety of opportunities due to their unique properties. With the advantages of high magnetic field sensitivity, highest antenna gain within all nanoscale antennas at similar frequency, the integrated capability to CMOS technology, and the ground plane immunity from the metallic surface or the human body, the MEs have uses in biomedical applications, wearable antennas, and the Internet of Things.

The antennas were designed using COMSOL Multiphysics software based on the bulk acoustic wave (BAW) resonator to transfer the dynamic strain across the piezoelectric layer and magnetostrictive layer. Two proposed antennas — nano-plate resonators (NPR) and thin-film bulk acoustic wave resonators (FBAR) — have the same excitation but with different resonance modes, providing a variety of frequency coverages.

The acoustic wavelength is about five orders shorter than the electromagnetic wavelength at the same frequency. Therefore, since the ME antennas are operating at the acoustic resonant frequency instead of EM wave resonant frequency, the antennas can dramatically shrink hundreds to thousands of times smaller.

All devices are fabricated with the same processes on one small chip that includes thousands of antennas. The frequency of the antenna is simply defined by the resonator geometry. By simple device geometry design, a very wide frequency band can be achieved, from tens of MHz to tens of GHz on only one chip. A bank of multi-frequency MEMS resonators can be connected to a CMOS oscillator circuit to create reconfigurable ME antenna arrays.

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U-decipher Device for the Speech-Impaired

Chidvilas Putta, DabEndue, Hyderabad, Telangana, India

This gesture-recognition-based device helps speech-impaired individuals enhance their communication with others. The lightweight, convenient, and stylish pendant captures gestures within a 150-degree field of view by reading the hand gestures and interpreting the hand signs. The gestures are programmed into a mobile app and connected to the device through Bluetooth. When a gesture is made, it generates an individual code that matches the gesture stored in the mobile app and interprets the words.

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Melni Connectors

Mark Melni, Cameron Williams, and Eric Smallwood, Melni LLC, Twin Falls, ID USA

The Melni Connector is an electrical connector designed to splice secondary (600V and down) electrical wires in direct burial and submersible applications. The patented technology provides faster, safer, and easier connections, and doesn’t require specialty tools. The MC2400 connector handles from 2-4 AWG; the MC1200 handles 1/0-2/0 AWG.

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An Automated System for Printing of Nano and Microscale Electronics and Sensors

Ahmed Busnaina, Nano OPS, Inc. and Northeastern University; Krassy Petkov, Milara Inc., Newton, MA USA

Directed assembly-based printing technology can print circuits 1,000 times smaller and 1,000 times faster than inkjet-based or 3D printing. This scalable technology allows the use of any organic or inorganic semiconducting, conductive, or insulating material on flexible or rigid substrates including nanomaterials such as graphene, quantum dots, and nanotubes. This will lower the price of consumer or power electronics by 10-100 times and result in orders of magnitude lower energy and water consumption.

For more information, visit here.

Ultra-Low-Power Analog-to-Digital Converter with Nano-Electromechanical Relays

Ren Li and Hossein Fariborzi, KAUST, Jeddah, Makkah, Saudi Arabia

In the integrated circuit fabrication process, metal wires and VIAs (the vertical connection between metal layers) are used as interconnections on the chip for connecting millions of transistors. With this air gap technology, on the back side of the chip or back end of the line, an air gap can be introduced in between two metal layers, providing a spatial movement potential for those metal wires. A mechanical relay using metal layers can be implemented on the back side of the transistor chip, saving energy by eliminating the leakage current and reducing cost since it is inherently CMOS fabrication-compatible.

For more information, visit here.

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