After several years of strategic planning, a new state-of-the-art Microsystems Fabrication Laboratory is finally up and running on the Naval Postgraduate School campus.
This new laboratory is intended to propel NPS physics and its related departments into the forefront of cutting edge research, while providing the universities top tier faculty a new tool set for delivering world class education to students enrolled in select curriculum's, such as Combat Systems Science and Engineering, provided by the physics department.
“Our new Microsystems Fabrication Laboratory has propelled NPS into a select group of research installations, and with the pool of talented researchers that we have available, we really are at a competitive advantage. Not to mention, there aren’t too many students who have this kind research opportunity right now,” says NPS Physicist Dr. Dragoslav Grbovic.
Micro-electro mechanical systems (MEMS) is the field of engineering and applied physics that deals with building tiny, microscale, structures and mechanisms to be used as sensors and actuators.
Many of the MEMS projects Prof. Grbovic is actively involved in include the construction of Terahertz (ThZ) metamaterials and imaging devices.
Typically, large amounts of energy get wasted due to vibration. Think of car engines and generators as a prime example. Using a multitude of miniature devices, some of this energy can be recovered, by converting vibrational energy into electrical energy. Harnessing this kind of energy will offer a tremendous opportunity to future technologies. Think defense, medical and commercial applications, as some examples.
He is also actively pursuing MEMS energy harvesting technology. A technology that harvests wasted vibrational energy.
Other Microsystems Fabrication Laboratory projects that Prof. Grbovic participates in include carbon nanotube-based ion thrusters and aerogels for supercapacitive energy storage.
“Having a facility like this allows our students to experience a hands approach to building these structures. It beats designing, simulating and then shipping off our ideas to third-party commercial vendors for fabricating. This offers our students a transcending level of research and education. Traditional physics or engineering students cannot get this opportunity, expect for a few places,” says Prof. Grbovic.
While Prof. Grbovic is mainly involved with MEMS research and managing the new lab, he says a wide range of researchers, spanning multiple departments, are utilizing the new research technologies. The faculty and students involved in the Center for Materials Research, is a prime example of this miraculous NPS Synergy, a level of cooperation unseen on many university campuses.
1. Development and analysis of organic Thz metamaterials
2. Development and analysis of Thz imaging arrays
3. Development and analysis of MEMS energy harvesting arrays based on piezoelectric effect
4. Development and analysis of MEMS energy harvesting arrays based of electromagnetic induction