Nano Science and Technology Institute

Innovation Spotlight: A Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) Membrane MEMS Sensor for Flow Rate and Flow Direction Sensing

September 24, 2012 08:33 AM EST By: Jennifer Rocha

National University of Singapore (NUS) Wants to use LCP as a Structural Material for Environmental Applications

Researchers believe LCP material offer much higher sensitivity over silicon as a structural material for flow sensing due to its much lower Young’s modulus without compromising the sensor response.  The team notes that their sensor demonstrated a good sensitivity of 3.695mV/ms-1 large operating range (0.1 to 10ms-1) and good accuracy in measuring airflow.  LCP has a very low moisture absorption capability and highly resistant to chemicals, which make the sensor robust for applications in harsh environments, e.g. atmospheric wind and water flow monitoring purposes. 

Tricia Chong, Associate Director of the Industry Liaison Office at NUS, tells TechConnect News that the technology was funded through a research grant from the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART). The Alliance is based and funded in Singapore, with MIT contributing research expertise. The Smart Center Singapore-MIT was established in 2007, and includes five interdisciplinary research groups (IRGs).  Each of these IRGs includes a pool of research talent from both MIT and Singapore.  This particular technology came out of the joint efforts of researchers from MIT and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) who are part of the 1st IRG - Center for Environmental Sensing and Modeling (CENSAM) at SMART. 

Initially, the research team was testing the LCP for both medical and environmental applications, notes Sim Lay May, Manager, Industry Liaison Office at NUS.  But the team decided to focus on just environmental applications, and is currently improving the sensor packaging, as well as subjecting it to harsher environmental testing.  The technology’s target market area is the $10 billion+ annual worldwide automotive sensor market.

This technology was also selected to present at the TechConnect World 2012 conference in Silicon Valley, CA, US.

To learn more about this technology,visit http://www.nus.edu.sg/ilo/

 

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