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MEMS & Nanotechnology Blog Posts

Using the Application Builder as a Tool for Teaching Students

May 19, 2016

Maximizing the efficiency of the learning process while keeping students engaged is the common goal that professors hope to achieve in any course. In the realm of physics- and engineering-based courses, simulation apps are helping to strike such a balance by introducing students to complex concepts in a simplified format. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the innovative ways that university professors are utilizing apps within the classroom.

Control Current and Voltage Sources with the AC/DC Module

February 25, 2016

If you’ve ever worked with the Terminal boundary condition in COMSOL Multiphysics, you know that this electrical boundary condition can apply a current or voltage, among other options. But did you know that you can also dynamically switch between excitation types during a transient simulation? This is useful if you are trying to model a current- or voltage-limited power supply, for example. Today, we will look at how to implement such a switching behavior.

Simulation Improves Range of Motion in Piezoelectric Actuators

February 15, 2016

Piezoelectricity finds use in a variety of engineering applications. They include transducers, inkjet printheads, adaptive optics, switching devices, cellphone components, and guitar pickups, to name a few. Today’s blog post will benefit both beginners and experts in piezoelectricity, as we highlight some of the fundamental elements of piezoelectric theory and basic simulations, along with a novel design for improving the range of motion for piezoelectric actuators.

Piezoelectric Materials: Applying the Standards

January 27, 2016

Previously on the blog, we detailed the standards employed to describe piezoelectric materials. There are two piezoelectric material standards supported in COMSOL Multiphysics: the IRE 1949 standard and the IEEE 1978 standard. Today, we will demonstrate how to set up the orientation of a crystal, specifically an AT cut quartz plate, within both standards.

Modeling Microresonators with Electrostatic Actuation

October 8, 2015

MEMS resonators are microelectromechanical systems primarily used as sensor elements, filters, and frequency elements. Two common actuation methods for MEMS resonators are piezoelectric actuation and electrostatic actuation. In this blog post, we will discuss the modeling of electrostatically actuated MEMS resonators. When modeling such resonators, you will often come across terms such as equilibrium point, pull-in, pull-in voltage, and time harmonic response of a biased resonator. We will explain these phenomena using a simple representation of an actuator.

Optimizing the Power of a Piezoelectric Energy Harvester

October 2, 2015

Over the years, energy harvesting has become a popular approach to power small wireless devices. For energy harvesters to yield optimal results, it is important that their design configurations maximize the level of power transfer. Here, we will explore the role of simulation in advancing the design of a piezoelectric energy harvester.

Simulating a MEMS-Based Pressure Sensor Inspired by a Cave Fish

August 17, 2015

Many aquatic vehicles use power-hungry active sensing methods to detect and identify objects within an oceanic environment. In order to find an energy-efficient alternative, a team of researchers from the PSG College of Technology in India used numerical simulation to investigate a pressure sensor design inspired by a blind cave fish. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at this passive MEMS-based pressure sensor.

Simulating a Valveless Micropump Mechanism

July 17, 2015

Microfluidic systems often rely on valveless pumps, as they are both gentle on the biological material and low in the risk of clogging. However, by design, this type of pump is not suitable for viscous fluids and systems with small length scales or low flow rates. To overcome this limitation, you can introduce a micropump mechanism that converts oscillatory fluid motion into a unidirectional net flow.


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