STTR Phase II: High Performance Piezoelectric MEMS Microphones

Award Information
Agency:
National Science Foundation
Branch
n/a
Amount:
$496,373.00
Award Year:
2011
Program:
STTR
Phase:
Phase II
Contract:
1127487
Award Id:
n/a
Agency Tracking Number:
1127487
Solicitation Year:
2011
Solicitation Topic Code:
Phase II
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
836 Brookside Dr., Ann Arbor, MI, 48105-1100
Hubzone Owned:
N
Minority Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
829545891
Principal Investigator:
Robert Littrell
(734) 846-2268
rlittrell@gmail.com
Business Contact:
Robert Littrell
PhD
(734) 846-2268
rlittrell@gmail.com
Research Institution:
University of Michigan Ann Arbor



Nonprofit college or university
Abstract
This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II project will develop a microphone for the test and measurement (T & M) market that utilizes piezoelectric microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology. During Phase I of this project, feasibility was demonstrated by building and testing a microphone with the necessary performance for this market. Specifically, this microphone has a noise floor that is 10 times lower than any piezoelectric MEMS microphone previously demonstrated. The unique device modeling and optimization that allowed for this significant performance improvement enables a new class of microphones. During Phase II of this project, the commercialization effort will be accelerated by partnering with a production foundry to develop a fabrication process, enabling the mass fabrication of these parts. Successful completion of this task requires the repeatable fabrication in a production foundry with yield exceeding 90%. This Phase II project also seeks to further develop self-calibration capabilities, building on a unique aspect of these microphones demonstrated during Phase I. Successful completion of this task will result in a microphone capable of determining its own sensitivity to within 1 dB of that determined by standard calibration methods. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is significant due to the widespread use of microphones in today's markets. This microphone?s unique combination of device simplicity and high performance enables a new class of microphones that fills the gap between extremely low-cost microphones used in consumer electronics applications and extremely high-cost microphones used in laboratories and test facilities. Through discussions with manufacturers and end-users of microphones and related systems, the company have determined that a wide range of applications would benefit from such a device. These microphones will significantly reduce the cost of complex T & M systems such as arrays that can cost more than $1M and improve the accuracy of equipment used by noise control engineers, work safety inspectors, police officers, and many others. Further, this microphone technology not only has the potential to impact the T & M market, but provides advantages for the hearing aid and consumer electronics markets as well. The total addressable market for this technology is more than $2.5B.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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