Program » Industry Session » Innovative MEMS

Aravind Vijayaraghavan
Atomic Mechanics Ltd and University of Manchester, UK

Graphene is the novel atomically-thin carbon layer with superlative properties that are ideal for MEMS applications - a combination of extremely high stiffness and breaking strength, high elasticity, and extremely low mass [1]. Graphene MEMS is targeting a rapidly growing $20b MEMS market with the potential to supplant the silicon- and polymer-based MEMS membranes. We have developed and patented a novel graphene-polymer heterostructure MEMS membrane [2, 3] and an associated 'strained transfer' technique for pre-tensioning [4, 5, 6], and MEMS devices such as pressure sensors and CMUT based on these. Graphene MEMS can also be implemented on transparent flexible substrates, for human-machine interface applications. We have established a spin-out company, Atomic Mechanics, to take graphene MEMS technologies to market, starting with transparent flexible force-touch sensors for robotics and e-skin applications. Recently, we have made significant progress in wafer-scale manufacture by integrating graphene MEMS manufacturing with multi-user MEMS processes such as PolyMUMPs and PiezoMUMPs [7]. We anticipate the most significant impact of graphene MEMS in microphones, CMUTs, pressure and touch sensors for extreme environments, robotics and HMI, and internal devices like accelerometers and gyroscopes. We have developed a roadmap which will see a wide range of graphene MEMS devices entering the market in the next 2 to 5 years.

References: [1] Z. H. Khan et al, J Phys D: App Phys, 50 (2017) 053003. [2] C. Berger et al, Nanoscale, 8 (2016) 17928. [3] A Vijayaraghavan, WO 2017/07731A1. [4] C. Berger et al, Nanoscale, 9 (2017), 17439. [5] C. Berger et al, 2D Materials, 5 (2018) 015025 [6] A Vijayaraghavan, WO2018178634A1. [7] K. Smith et al, ACS Appl Mater Int, 15 (2023), 985

Prof. Vijayaraghavan is a Professor of Nanomaterials in the Department of Materials and the National Graphene Institute at The University of Manchester. He is the founder of two spin-out companies - Atomic Mechanics Ltd and Grafine Ltd. He leads the Nanofunctional Materials Group. He is also the Head of Internationalisation for the Faculty of Science & Engineering. His research involves the science and technology of graphene and 2-dimensional materials, particularly for applications in MEMS, sensors, composites and biotechnology. He was previously a senior post-doctoral research associate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA and an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany. He was awarded his MEng (2002) and PhD (2006) from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA and his BTech (2000) from the Indian Institute of Technology - Madras, India. He has published over 100 papers in international peer reviewed journals and delivered over 100 presentations at international conferences. He has filed 7 patents. He is also a leader in public engagement and science communication has won numerous awards for the same.