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Vibration Dampening Pedestal for MEMS

The US Army has developed, tested, and patented a thin-film modular pedestal for passive dampening of undesirable external vibrations that can affect micro-electro-mechanical-system (MEMS) devices

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The Technology: 

The US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is a leading developer of MEMS-based sensors and technologies for communication, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, including guidance systems for the next generation of smart missiles and munitions platforms.

Development of these advanced munition systems is often limited by an inability to satisfy accuracy performance standards due to critical failure of MEMS sensors exposed to in-flight forces and/or the harsh external vibrations generated from launch and high g-forces. Traditional mitigation techniques, such as viscoelastic packaging materials and software processing to correct signal errors do not always offer satisfactory solutions.

ARL has designed, fabricated, and tested a thin-film pedestal that can reduce by 50-90% the amount of vibrational energy reaching MEMS sensors. Based upon the physics of acoustic waves moving with a simple longitudinal motion, this thin-film pedestal is composed of highly dissimilar materials to reflect, absorb, and dissipate energy before it reaches the sensor. Depending upon application requirements, individual layers of materials ranging from 150-250 nanometers thick are stacked to form a pedestal from one to several microns thick. Originally intended for acoustic waves between 3 kHz and 25 kHz, the modular design can accommodate a broad range of vibrational frequencies.

Benefits: 

• First-available passive vibration-control architecture for extreme environments
• Reduces unwanted vibrational energy passing through the engineered substrate up to 90%
• Minimizes the need for software to correct MEMS sensor output errors due to vibration
• Diverse markets include military, commercial aerospace applications, and anywhere vibrational frequencies above ~3 kHz can interfere with sensor operation

The Opportunity: 

Issued US patent 7,529,154 is available for license

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