MEMS and Energy Harvesting Lab

       1. MEMS actuators /sensors

Research in this area is focused on designing energy efficient electrostatic actuators/sensors to achieve high resolution and sensitivity. One unique property of MEMS devices is their nonlinear characteristic that can be exploited to improve their performance. In our lab, we study interesting nonlinear dynamical phenomenon such as softening, hardening, internal resonance, chaos, and parametric resonance to improve actuation ranges and sensitivity in MEMS devices. With advanced mathematical modeling and solution approaches, we are able to predict highly complex responses and alter their structures to satisfy certain requirements.

2.  Energy Harvesting

 Energy harvesting in the lab involves converting mechanical kinetic energy to electricity. Electricity is generated through piezoelectric, and triboelectric effects. Such energy harvesters find applications in structural health monitoring systems and biomedical sensors. The power generations are small in the range of milli- and micro-watts, though it is useful for emerging low power sensors. Ongoing projects include an implantable self-powered load sensor for a knee implant.


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7/13/2020 Congratulations to the team for winning the 2020 ASMS Best Paper in Materials and Systems! The paper is titled "Pairing electrostatic levitation with triboelectric transduction for high-performance self-powered MEMS sensors and actuators" published in Applied Physics Letters . The award recognizes the significant contribution to the field of adaptive structures and material systems and is governed by the ASMS branch of ASME. It is a great honor to win two awards in a year! Way to go Team!

6/25/2020 CONGRATULATIONS to Wei Yang, alumni of our group, who is now working as an R&D Engineer at Vesper MEMS, for his work to receive the award of BEST ENERGY HARVESTING PAPER of YEAR 2019 by the energy harvesting technical committee. The award will be presented at The ASME 2020 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems conference. Great work does not remain unnoticed. The paper is titled "W. Yang, S. Towfighian (2019), A Parametric Resonator with Low Threshold Excitation for Vibration Energy Harvesting, Journal of Sound and Vibration, Vol. 446, pp. 129-143". It is a great honor.

4/30/2020 Congratulations to Meysam for publishing a paper at Nonlinear Dynamics titled "Lateral pull-in instability of MEMS transducers employing repulsive force".

3/1/2020 Congratulations to Mehmet for acceptance of his paper at IEEE Sensors Journal titled "Modeling and Characterization of A Pull-in Free MEMS Microphone".  

2/24/2020 Congratulations to Meysam Daeichin for finding an Intern position in Knowles for the summer! Knowles is well known for MEMS microphones.

2/17/2020 Congratulations to Mehmet Ozdogan on his PhD dissertation defense! Result of perseverance and hard work! Great to have a job already at Xallent!


1/29/2020 Congratualtions to Mark Pallay on the successfull defense of his dissertation! Best of luck!


1/6/2020 Congratulations and best wishes for Mark Pallay for getting an R&D engineer position at Seagate! Seagate deveops all kinds of storage hardware where they use MEMS actuators. 

12/1/2019 Our paper titled " A Tunable electrostatic MEMS Pressure switch" is accepted at IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics. Thanks to Mark Pallay for his outstanding work! 

10/31/2019 Congratulations to Daniel Nelson for getting a research scientist position at Air Force Research Laboratory! I am glad he got rewarded for his diligent work.

10/3/2019 Our work on the combined triboelectric generator and levitation switch has now been published in Applied Physics Letters. Thanks to Mark Pallay and Wathiq Ibrahim!

9/25/2019 Good luck to Meysam Daeichin for the internship position at Xallent, a company located in Ithaca, NY.

8/17/2019 Congratualtions to Mark Pallay for winning the 2nd best paper award in IDETC 2019, 31st Conference on Mechanical Vibration and Noise held in Anaheim, CA. The paper titled "A capacitive MEMS filter using electrostatic levitation". It is a great honor!

8/15/2019 Congratulations to Mark Pallay for his excellent work on MEMS linear actuators! This work has been published at Journal of Applied Physics. It is featured Binghamton University news and on Phys. org.

6/13/2019 Dr. Towfighian received a $429,134 three-year NSF grant for discovering self-powered switches.

5/15/2019 Congratulations to Mark and Meysam on their graduations! Both have a bright future ahead!

5/10/2019 Congratulations to postdoc Wathiq Ibrahim for two faculty position offers! Rewarded for unprecedented hard work !

1/30/2019 Our work on smart knee implants is featured in EurekAlert! Congratulations to Wathiq Ibrahim! Read Medical Research Interview with Dr. Towfighian.

1/3/2019 Congratulations to Mark for his outstanding work in Applied Physics Letters! Read more here.

10/2/2018 Congratulations to PhD Candidate Wei Yang for finding a job at VesperMEMS that makes MEMS microphones! Well deserved!

9/3/2018 Congratulations to Mehmet Ozdogan for winning an NSF internship at Xallent with a prospect of continuing as a full time employee! He works on microfabrication of nanoprobes. Best Wishes for Mehmet!

7/11/2017 Dr. Towfighian Received a two year Award titled "An implantable self-powered load sensor for total knee replacement health monitoring" from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The purpose of this project is to develop a monitoring system for patients with knee implants to avoid future surgeries.

8/18/2016 Dr. Towfighian Received a three year NSF Award titled "A New Approach to Capacitive Sensing: Repulsive Sensors". The purpose of this project is to investigate repulsive sensing as a way of achieving robustness and improving resolution in MEMS devices.

5/19/2015 Dr. Towfighian received TAE award on "Smart Energy Harvesting from Human Breathing for wearable body sensors" 

5/20/2014 Dr. Towfighian receivedTAE award on "Energy Harvesting from Mechanical Vibrations Using Nonlinear Resonators for Wireless Sensor Networks"