The Michigan Engineer News Center

Mina Rais-Zadeh receives NASA Early Career Grant to develop technology needed for picosatellites

Prof. Rais-Zadeh intends to develop a chip-scale timing unit that offers an order of magnitude higher performance compared to existing solutions.| Short Read
EnlargeProfessor Mina Rais-Zadeh
IMAGE:  Professor Mina Rais-Zadeh

Prof. Mina Rais-Zadeh will pursue research into a “Chip-Scale Precision Timing Unit for PicoSatellites” as one of ten researchers selected in the inaugural year of NASA’s Space Technology Research Opportunities for Early Career Faculty. Prof. Rais-Zadeh intends to develop a chip-scale timing unit that offers an order of magnitude higher performance compared to existing solutions.

Current Quartz-based clocks are not ideally suited to the high temperatures and extreme acceleration typical of space applications. Prof. Rais-Zadeh will develop chip-scale precision clocks that will offer reduced thermal sensitivity and reduced susceptibility to shock and acceleration. Her proposed system includes an array of temperature-compensated micro-mechanical resonators with different temperature coefficient of frequencies. The resonators offer zero-bias TCF of sub-ppm levels in a broad temperature range, a high Q of more than 100,000, and a low motional impedance, all characteristics required for achieving low-phase noise and low-power clocks.

With this research, Prof. Rais-Zadeh will eliminate several risks associated with developing small-size reference clocks for picosatellites and will aid future NASA missions that require miniaturized timing units.

Prof. Rais-Zadeh is director of the Resonant MEMS Group. Her research interests include integrated RF MEMS, GaN-based micromechanical devices and sensors, MEMS-enabled ICs, wafer-level packaging and micro/nano-fabrication techniques. She is the recipient of an NSF CAREER Award (2011) and an IEEE Electron Device Society Early Career Award (2011).

Professor Mina Rais-Zadeh
BepiColombo approaching Mercury. Credit: European Space Agency

U-M researchers to help unravel Mercury, solar system mysteries

In ESA's BepiColombo mission, an examination of the particles in Mercury's upper atmosphere will shed light on what the planet is made of. | Medium Read