Great demand exists for miniaturization of microelectronic devices in various engineering sectors, including defense and commercial industries, as well as portable personal electronics. This would allow various electronic
components to be integrated with sensors/actuators to realize multifunctional microsystems. However, it has been challenging to meet all the requirements of small size, light weight and multi-functionality, while enhancing performance.
Jungkwun Kim, ECE assistant professor, has dedicated his research to finding engineering solutions to these challenges by utilizing nanotechnology and microfabrication. Accordingly, Kim’s Nano Micro Electronics Laboratory in ECE has focused on development of the 3D microfabrication process and its applications, including an integrated 3D inductor for smart devices and flexible energy storage.
Under his direction, the NanoMicro Electronics Laboratory has been developing a UV-LED lithography system as a versatile 3D microfabrication method. The UV-LED lithography system comprises UV-LED array as a light source, a tilt-rotational stage underneath the light source to control a light-exposure angle and a computer as the main control.
The Nano-Micro Electronics Laboratory has focused on development of microscale-power electronic devices. Most commercial switching frequencies for power converters are in the low-(0.5-10) MHz regime, with research being conducted to push these frequencies up to 100 MHz and beyond. In the nearer term, miniaturized inductors with sufficient inductance and powerhandling capability in the range of 5-10 MHz are of great interest. Kim has utilized a 3-D, lithographically defined, micromachining technology to fabricate the micro 3-D power inductor with highly dense windings. This approach resulted in a great reduction of overall power-chip size to within cubic inches, and has demonstrated high efficiency of 96 percent at 20W and 93 percent at 50W, respectively. This has produced
This has produced the smallest power converter with the highest power efficiency when compared to similar specs of power converters.
To circumvent the cost and need for specialized equipment for nanofiber fabrication and metal deposition, low-cost materials and simple fabrication processes are greatly needed. Kim has developed an accessible method to generate metalcoated fabric electrodes for a flexible battery application. This demonstrated flexible battery has great potential for use as a future, low-cost, flexible energystorage device.