The use of magnetic actuators at the microscale has so far been limited when compared with the alternative electrostatic approach. This is mainly due to the fabrication difficulties encountered when producing magnetic components at the microscale. However, the force available from a magnetic actuator far exceeds that of its electrostatic counterpart for a given footprint area, as the magnetic devices have a greater potential to be fabricated into the third dimension. The ability to create multiple layer microcoils, easily and reproducibly, would greatly exploit this fact, enabling devices to be constructed that can produce actuation forces/distances far in excess of any other currently available microtechnology. To this end, the fabrication of two types of multiple layer coil has been investigated, both based around the ultra-thick negative photoresist, SU-8. Single, double and quadruple layer coils have been fabricated in electroplated copper and a commercially available silver colloidal paint. The fabrication times and processing steps have been assessed for each, together with the respective conductivities and the maximum current densities, before burnout of the conductors. The thermal implications of stacked multi layered coils have also been assessed. The coils fabricated have a diameter of 0.93mm.
A pulsed terahertz imaging system has been developed for potential use in vivo. Few data are available regarding the optical properties of human tissue at terahertz frequencies. This work demonstrates
transmission measurements through human ex vivo tissue sections, and determines broadband refractive indices, and broadband and frequency dependent absorption coefficients. The data presented here are the first systematic measurements of this type. Significant differences were found between a numbers of human tissue types.
Terahertz frequency spectroscopic imaging studies of teeth are reported. The aim is to establish the characteristic properties of enamel and dentine at these high frequencies. Changes to the THz characteristics as a result of various types of tooth abnormalities are reported showing the potential of this technique for dental diagnosis
The first demonstrations of terahertz imaging in biomedicine were made several years ago, but few data are available on the optical properties of human tissue at terahertz frequencies. A catalogue of these properties has been established to estimate variability and determine the practicality of proposed medical applications in terms of penetration depth, image contrast and reflection at boundaries. A pulsed terahertz imaging system with a useful bandwidth 0.5-2.5 THz was used. Local ethical committee approval was obtained. Transmission measurements were made through tissue slices of thickness 0.08 to 1 mm, including tooth enamel and dentine, cortical bone, skin, adipose tissue and striated muscle. The mean and standard deviation for refractive index and linear attenuation coefficient, both broadband and as a function of frequency, were calculated. The measurements were used in simple models of the transmission, reflection and propagation of terahertz radiation in potential medical applications. Refractive indices ranged from 1.5 ± 0.5 for adipose tissue to 3.06 ± 0.09 for tooth enamel. Significant differences (P < 0.05) were found between the broadband refractive indices of a number of tissues. Terahertz radiation is strongly absorbed in tissue so reflection imaging, which has lower penetration requirements than transmission, shows promise for dental or dermatological applications.
Terahertz (THz) radiation is being studied as an investigative tool for skin conditions. Two approaches for describing the propagation of THz radiation through skin are presented and verified using a layered water-based phantom. The skin was assumed to comprise a series of layers of tissue with differing, frequency dependent, properties; the major interaction was assumed to be between THz radiation and water. Based on these assumptions a thin film matrix model and a Monte Carlo model were developed to simulate this situation. In order to test these models, a simple three layer <i>in-vitro</i> phantom was used. This consisted of two 2 mm layers of TPX, encasing a 180 micrometer layer of a water/propanol-1 mixture. Spectroscopic measurements were made in a pulsed THz system for cells with thirteen different water/propanol-1 concentrations. Comparisons between the results from both models and experimental spectra show good correlation, in each case the model was able to simulate the overall trend of the spectra and more detailed features. This suggests that the models may be adapted to investigate THz irradiation of skin. Modeling modifications would include using layer dimensions that were comparable to the constituent layers of skin and using additional layers to describe the organ more thoroughly.
Terahertz (THz) radiation has a frequency of the order of 10<SUP>12</SUP>12 Hz. This lies between the infrared and microwave regions of the electromagnetic spectrum; a section labeled the 'THz gap'. Infrared and microwave radiation is used in the medical field; research is underway for an application for THz radiation. At present no formal safety analysis of a THz pulsed imaging (TPI) system has been performed. This will be necessary for future in vivo studies. The radiation is delivered in a train of femtosecond pulses. International guidelines on exposure to non-ionizing radiation, and supporting literature, were reviewed to determine the Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE) for radiation of this range of wavelengths, both for a single pulse and continuous wave exposure. Two methods of deriving the MPE were identified. Current guidelines for infrared and microwave regions of the electromagnetic spectrum incorporate the THz region. Using conservative parameter estimation an MPE per pulse, over the area of the beam, of 94 W was calculated. At present THz pulsed imaging systems produce pulses of power approximately 1 mW; this lies within the limit calculated using the published guidelines. There are, however, areas requiring further investigation before the technique becomes routine in clinical practice.
Terahertz imaging is an emerging modality, with potential for medical applications, using broadband sub-picosecond electromagnetic pulses in the range of frequencies between 100 GHz and 100 terahertz (THz). Images can be formed using parameters derived from the time domain, or at the range of frequencies in the Fourier domain. The choice of frequency at which to image may be an important factor for clinical applications. Image quality as a function of frequency was assessed for a terahertz pulsed imaging system by means of; (i) image noise measurements on a specially designed step wedge, and (ii) modulation transfer functions (MTF) derived from a range of spatial frequency square wave patterns. It was found that frequencies with larger signal magnitude gave lower image noise, measured using relative standard deviation (standard deviation divided by mean) for uniform regions of interest of the step wedge image. MTF results were as expected, with higher THz frequency signals demonstrating a consistently higher MTF and higher spatial frequency limiting resolution than the lower THz frequencies. There is a trade-off between image noise and spatial resolution with image frequency. Higher frequencies exhibit better spatial resolution than lower frequencies, however the decrease in signal power results in a degradation of the image.
The plasma membrane, that exists as part of many animal and plant cells, is a regulator for the transport of ions and small molecules across cell boundaries. Two main components involved are the phospholipid bilayer and the transport proteins. This paper details the construction of a micromachined support for bilayers (MSB) as a first step towards the development of highly selective and highly sensitive ion-channel based biosensors. The device consists of a ~100 ?m hole in a polymeric support above a cavity that can hold ~25 nL of electrolyte. Electrodes attached to the structure allow the resistance of the membranes to be measured using d.c. conductivity. The MSB is made in two halves, using SU8 ultra-thick resist, which are subsequently bonded together to make the final structure. A layer of gold, surrounding the aperture, enables self-assembled monolayers of alkanethiols to be used to make the polymeric structure biocompatible. Lipid membranes have been formed over these holes with resistances comparable with those of natural membranes >107 ?cm2. The ion-channel gramicidin has successfully been incorporated into the bilayer and its activity monitored. It is proposed that this type of device could be used not only for studying membrane transport phenomena but also as part of an ion-channel based biosensor.
This paper discusses the need for micromachined components in very high frequency (terahertz) electronic circuits. It is shown that, with the use of micromachining, conventional rectangular rectangular technology can be scaled down to the dimensions required for these high frequency circuits. Furthermore, the fabrication techniques are capable of producing the high quality surface necessary for low loss components. Fabrication processes are presented together with the results of electrical characterisation.
In this paper we describe the realization and electrical performance of a micromachined E-plane filter for operation at a central frequency of 90 GHz. The micro-machining technique employed here for the filter fabrication is based on the use of an ultra-thick photoresist, the EPON SU-8, which gives precise control of 2D and 3D structures at the 1-100 micrometers level. In the work described her, the E-plane ladder was micromachined and mounted in a conventional metal waveguide for electrical characterization purposes. The results show that the performance of the micromachined filter is comparable to its metal counterpart, with the additional advantages of a much lighter structure, greater ease of fabrication and at lower cost.
A new technique is reported for micro-machining millimeter and submillimeter-wave rectangular waveguide components using an advanced thick film UV photoresist known as EPON<SUP>TM</SUP> SU-8. The recent introduction of this resist has been of great interest to the millimeter-wave and terahertz micro-machining communities, as it is capable of producing features up to 1 mm in height with very high aspect ratios in only a single UV exposure. It therefore represents a possible low-cost alternative to the LIGA process. S-parameter measurements on the new rectangular waveguides show that they achieve lower loss than those produced using other on-chip fabrication techniques, they have highly accurate dimensions, are physically robust, and cheap and easy to manufacture.
The fabrication of air-filled rectangular metal-pipe waveguide using a lithographically-based technique has recently been reported. This type of waveguide, together with other passive components such as antennas, couplers, mixers and filters may offer a realistic route to terahertz frequency integrated circuits in view of the compatibility of the fabrication technique with those of standard semiconductor processing. In this contribution, we report the fabrication of a range of waveguide components for operation at frequencies of up to 300 GHz. These measurements represent the highest frequency characterization study so far reported for a micromachined passive structure of this type and provide proof of TE<SUB>10</SUB> propagation with the expected cut-off frequency. Numerous measurements have been taken using G-band (WR-F) guide which show an attenuation loss of approximately 0.6 dB per guide wavelength at 200 GHz. This low value of attneuation shows that these micromachined waveguide are viable components for use in integrated circuits at terahertz frequencies. The insertion loss repeatability (due to mismatch effects at the ports of the waveguides) has been measured and has been shown to be better than plus or minus 0.5 dB. Preliminary results are presented for J-band (WR-3) waveguide which clearly shows the cut off frequency.