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Polymer MEMS/PCBMEMS and Packaging for Multi Parameter BioTag Systems in the Environment
Keywords: Polymer MEMS/PCBMEMS, Multisensor System, Liquid Crystal Polymer
Mobile Sensor networks for environmental measurements using Organic MEMS continue to evolve in our research activity. PCBMEMS enabled systems, primarily in environmentally robust Liquid Crystal Polymer have been demonstrated in the laboratory and are now operational in the field. The PCB based sensing systems that utilize this technology are directed toward chemical, biological and physical sensing individual systems and also aggregated into static and mobile arrays. We have developed a multisensor system that measures conductivity, temperature and pressure, and expanded with optical fluorescence detectors and combined it with a 3D system-in-package wireless module based on the 802.11b protocol to create a salinity and biooptical network node for an environmental network system. Recent progress has yielded PCBMEMS CTD sensors operating in the field for extended periods. The system has evolved further into a smaller package and with optical detection functionality that can be deployed as a sensor node in a sensor array but also as a sensor tag that is capable of being placed on a variety of living organisms as a biotag. The tag can be used for recording the environmental conditions (salinity and biooptical) that the organism experiences or the organism can be used as an “autonomous” vehicle for transporting the sensor system and recording the physical environment. In order to accommodate the diversity of organisms that can be tagged we are using a “diversity of packaging” approach that is scalable, adaptive, and modular. Using flex based (LCP, polyimide) as a core building material, sensor systems have been built that are planar, tubular or folded flex (i.e. 3D). The diversity of packages styles allows the ability to create different functional systems for use in different environments (air, water etc…) on different organisms (fish, birds, etc…). The power consumption reliability and fouling of the sensors have to be considered for such fieldable systems. Field data indicates that biofouling has become the limiting factor for sustained performance of the multisensor system within the environment. Novel patterning techniques for engineering of the package surfaces may help minimize the fouling effect and have been investigated.
David P. Fries, Senior Developmental Engineer
University of South Florida
St. Petersburg, FL

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