Great demand exists for the miniaturization of microelectronic devices in various engineering sectors, including defense and commercial industries, as well as portable personal electronics. This would enable the integration of diverse electronic components with sensors/actuators to make multifunctional microsystems. However, it has been difficult to achieve all of the objectives of small size, lightweight, and multifunctionality while simultaneously improving performance.
Our research has been focused on satisfying all of these specifications in order to maximize the device’s efficiency while minimizing its size. We are confident that the introduction of 3D nano/micro structures will be the answer to these challenges by delivering an efficient and compact design. Our research has centered on establishing a simple and producible 3D nano/microfabrication technique.
Dr. Jungkwun ‘JK’ Kim is an associate professor in the University of North Texas’ Department of Electrical Engineering. Utilizing nanotechnology and microfabrication, he has devoted his research to discovering engineering solutions to the challenges. Kim’s Advanced Nano Micro Electronics Laboratory has therefore focused on the development of the 3D microfabrication technique and its applications in biomedical, RF/microwave/THz, and Optical devices.
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.