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Piazza's Micro and Nano Systems Lab Advances Electronic Device Technology


Article Posted On 6/3/2014

Gianluca Piazza's research mission is to significantly advance state-of-the-art communication, computing, and sensing systems. He believes that the pursuit of this goal "will have a transformative impact on the electronic industry and change the way we interact with people and the environment."

In his time as an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, he has been doing just that. Under his direction, the Piazza Micro and Nano Systems (PMaNS) Laboratory has been conducting cutting-edge research on micro and nanoelectromechanical (M/NEMS) piezoelectric devices that can be used in a range of applications including radio frequency (RF) signal processing, chemical/biological detection, and energy efficient computing.

"The activities in my laboratory are targeted at understanding the fundamental science of micro and nanomechanical structures to control material properties, engineer device design and fabrication, and devise new classes of micro and nanoelectromechanical systems (M/NEMS) that directly interface with electronic circuits," explains Piazza.

Recently, he has been working to develop improved devices for reconfigurable RF systems, so these systems are able to cover both current commercial operating bands but also respond to a growing demand for multifunctional wireless communications systems.

"There is a need to develop monolithic frequency-agile RF front ends to ensure efficient utilization of the electromagnetic spectrum," Piazza explains. He has been developing and integrating resonators to devise programmable/reconfigurable RF systems.

The use of such massive arraying of resonators will enable low power, high bandwidth, and reconfigurable multi-frequency transceivers that are required in cognitive radios, sensors networks, and implantable devices.

(In another project, he has been working on the development of nanoscale mechanical relays, which have shown very low actuation voltages and leakage and willlead to the deployment of energy efficient mechanical computers.)