The Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN) has four main thematic research areas; Smart and Function Materials, Connected Devices, Next Generation Energy Systems and Therapeutics and Theranostics. To showcase the work going on within these areas, WIN will be holding monthly Thematic Seminars featuring our members and their research group members.
This month's WIN Thematic Seminar will highight the Connected Devices theme with research presented by Alaaeldin Ahmed (PhD) and Professor Eihab Abdel-Rahman from the Department of Systems Design Engineerng.
Noise Aware Sensors
Intrinsic noise processes impose fundamental limitations upon the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of MEMS & NEMS sensors. Typically, noise suppression and/or higher actuation levels have been used to increase the SNR. The former imposes stringent operating conditions, such as working in vacuum and at extremely low temperatures. The latter is limited by the power handling capacity of the sensor.
We propose a paradigm shift that turns noise from an impediment to a constituent component of the sensor. We present proof-of-concept noise-driven sensors that operate without external actuation. A resonant sensor is deployed to `colour' the intrinsic thermal bath energy. Quantitative changes in the magnitude of the resonant peak are observed for stimuli that affect the thermal noise level, such as temperature or pressure, while shifts in the resonant frequency are observed for stimuli that affect the structural stiffness or mass.
We demonstrate pressure and temperature noise-driven sensors offering an opportunity to deliver practical NEMS sensors that function at room temperature and under ambient pressure. Beyond that, we foresee extending this concept to noise-aware sensors that exploit noise in linear and nonlinear regimes and seek to utilize statistically stationary noise processes throughout the frequency domain.
Alaaeldin Ahmed received his Ph.D. from the University of Waterloo in System Design Engineering. He specialized in nano/micro-electromechanical systems and nonlinear system dynamics. His thesis was on permittivity sensors using a special nonlinear surface acoustic wave. In 2019, he received the WIN Nanofellowship, and he is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at Univeristy of Waterloo.
Eihab Abdel-Rahman is Professor of System Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo. A nonlinear dynamicist by training, his research interests are in micro and nano sensors and actuators. He has co-authored more than 250 journal and conference papers. Prof. Abdel-Rahman is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the European Society of Mechanics, associate editor for the ASME journal “Computational and Nonlinear Dynamics”, and section editor-in-chief for the MDPI journal “Actuators”.
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1