>> Zhang Lab: Power and Energy (homepage)

Many people in the field of Power MEMS share the belief that a revolution is underway. Distributed electrical power generation is the basis for Power MEMS and the original driver behind the research. The idea is simple: take the same mechanical and chemical engineering knowledge used to make today's generators and fuel cells and shrink it down into a package the size of a penny using microfabrication technology. The technical arguments are straightforward: when it comes to power delivery, engines, generators, and fuel cells are far more effective than batteries. The economic incentive is clear, the current US battery market exceeds billions and demand is growing exponentially with the proliferation of cell phones and other electronic devices. As the new, mobile, wireless, handheld internet takes hold, the need for high-density portable power will only continue to increase.

Information is power. In recent years, we have established strong collaborations with the oil service industries, including local companies such as Schlumberger-Doll Research (SDR), and Advanced Energy Consortium (AEC) in the US which includes the member companies of Petrobras, Repsol, Statoil, Shell, and Total. Our ongoing work includes: 1) High sensitivity thermal conductivity sensor for micro gas chromatography and harsh environment chemical detection; 2) HPHT (high pressure high temperature) microfluidic sensor for analytical chemistry; and 3) Microfluidic RF communication system for data retrieval in the oil and gas industry.

Project Examples and Representative Publications

Current Projects
Micro Gas Chromatography
Mechanical Behavior of Power MEMS Thin Films
Mercury Sensor Development for Application in the Oil and Gas Industry (Funded by SDR)
Microfluidic Sensor (High Pressure High Temperature) for Analytical Chemistry (Funded by SDR)
Microfluidic RF Communication System for Data Retrieval in the Oil/Gas Industry (Funded by AEC)

Previous Projects
MicroEngine: Structures and Devices
MicroEngine: Fabrication and Characterization
MEMS Micro-Pumps for a Cryogenic Heat Transport System

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