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Title:
OPTOMECHANICAL ACCELEROMETER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2013/131067
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Technologies are generally described for operating and manufacturing optomechanical accelerometers. In some examples, an optomechanical accelerometer device is described that uses a cavity resonant displacement sensor based on a zipper photonic crystal nano-eavity to measure the displacement, of an integrated test mass generated by acceleration applied to the chip. The cavity-resonant sensor may he folly integrated on-chip and exhibit an enhanced displacement resolution due to its strong optomechanical, coupling. The accelerometer structure may be fabricated in a silicon nitride thin film and constitute a rectangular test mass flexibly suspended on high aspect ratio inorganic nitride nano-tethers under high tensile stress. By increasing the mechanical Q-factors through adjustment of tether width and tether length, the noise-equivalent acceleration (NBA) may be reduced, while maintaining a large operation bandwidth. The mechanical Q-factor may be improved with thinner (e.g., <1 micron) and longer tethers (e.g., 10-560 microns).

Inventors:
PAINTER OSKAR (US)
WINGER MARTIN (US)
LIN QIANG (US)
KRAUSE ALEXANDER (US)
BLASIUS TIM D (US)
Application Number:
US2013/028763
Publication Date:
September 06, 2013
Filing Date:
March 01, 2013
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (1200 East California Blvd, Pasadena, CA, 91125, US)
UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER (500 Joseph C. Wilson Blvd, Rochester, NY, 14627, US)
International Classes:
G01P15/03; G01H9/00; G01P15/093
Foreign References:
US7355720B12008-04-08
CN200959015Y2007-10-10
US6613601B12003-09-02
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TURK, Carl, K. (Turk IP Law, LLC2885 Sanford Ave. S.W. #2399, Grandville MI, 49418, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. An optomechanical acceierometer device, comprising;

a frame;

a test mass;

a plurality of nano-tethers coupling the test mass to the frame; and

a zipper cavity structure formed, by a portion, of the test mass arid an adjacent portion of the frame,

2. The acceierometer device of claim. 1, wherein, the zipper cavity structure is formed by a photonic crystal in the test mass and a second photonic crystal in the frame, separated by a slot,

3. The acceierometer device of claim 1 , wherein the plurality of nano-tethers are configured to provide elongated mechanical support and have a thickness between, about 100 nm and about 500 nm.

4. The accele.rom.eter device of claim 1 , wherein the zipper cavity structure includes two paitemed photonic crysiai nanobeams, one of the nanobeams formed within the test mass and another of the nanobeams formed within the frame.

5. The acceierometer device of claim 1 , further comprising a fiber taper waveguide anchored to the frame in a vicinity of the zipper cavity structure, wherein the waveguide is configured to couple a light beam, to the zipper cavity structure monitor the photonic crystal nanobeams for detec ti ng a displacement of the test mass caused by an in-plane acceleration of the frame.

6. The acceierometer device of claim 1 , wherein at least one of a size of the test mass and a number of the nano ethers is selected such that a noise-equi valent acceleration (NEA.) of the acceierometer device is reduced and a mechanical quality factor of the acceierometer device is increased.

7. The accelerometer device of claim 6, wherein the at least 'one of the size of the test mass and the number of the nano-tethers is selected such that an operational bandwidth of the accelerometer device is substantially maintained.

8. The accelerometer device of claim 1, wherein the accelerometer device is fabricated in a silicon nitride thin film.

9. The accelerometer device of claim 1, wherein the accelerometer device is integrated into a microelectromechamcai system (MEMS) device.

10. The accelerometer device of claim 1 , wherein the test mass includes one or more cuts to facilitate undercutting the accelerometer device.

1 1 . The accelerometer devi e of claim 10» wherein the cuts are cross-shaped and

substantially evenly distributed on the test mass.

1.2. The accelerometer device of claim 1 , wherein a response characteristic of the

accelerometer device is damped through back-action cooling.

13. The accelerometer device of claim 1 , wherein a sensor bandwidth is controlled by an optical spring effect and an effective temperature of the sensor is controlled by one of passive damping and feedback cold-damping.

14. The accelerometer device of claim 1 , wherein one or more electrostatic actuators are used for in-sita tuning of an optical resonance of the zipper cavity structure and damping of a.

mechanical mode of the zipper cavity structure to enable closed-loop operation.

15. The accelerometer device of claim .1 , wherein the accelerometer device is fabricated in a single lithography step.

16. An opiical mtcro ectroraechanical system (OMEMS) device for detecting acceleration, the OMEMS device comprising:

an optomechanical aceelerometer comprising:

a frame;

a test mass;

a plurality of nano-tethers coupling the test ma s to the frame; and a zipper cavity structure formed by a portion of the test mass and an adjacent portion of the frame;

an optical beam source configured to direct a light beam onto the zipper cavity structure; and

an optical detector configured, to detect a displacement of the test mass caused by an n- plane acceleration of the frame.

17. The OMEMS device of claim 16, wherein the optical detector is configured to detect the displacement of the test mass based on a variation of one of light transmission through and light reflection from the zipper cavity structure,

1.8. The OMEMS device of claim 16, wherein, the zipper cavity structure i cludes two patterned photonic crystal nanobeams and a slot, one of the nanobeams formed as a portion of the test mass and another of the nanobeams formed as a portion of the frame, the nanobeams being separated by the slot.

19. The OMEMS device of claim 18, further comprising a fiber taper waveguide coupled t the optical detector and anchored to the frame in a vicinity of the zipper cavity structure to receive one of light transmitted through and light reflected from the nanobeams.

20. The OMEMS device of claim 16, wherein, at least one of a size of the test mass and a number of the nano-teihers is selected such that a noise-equivalent acceleration ( EA.) of the accelerometer device is reduced and a mechanical, quality factor of the aceelerometer device is increased.

21. The OMEMS device of claim 20, wherein the at least one of the size of the test mass and the n umber of the uano-iethers is selected such that an operational bandwidth of the

acceleroraeter device is substantially maintained

22. The OMEMS device of claim 16, wherein the aceelerometer device is fabricated in a silicon nitride thin film.

23. The OMEMS device of claim 16, wherein the test mass includes one or more cuts to facilitate undercutting the accelerometei device,

24. The OMEMS device of claim 16, wherein a response characteristic of the acceleroraeter device is damped through back-action cooling.

25. The OMEMS device of claim 16, further comprising one or more electrostatic actuators for in-situ tuning of an optical resonance of t e zi per cavity structure and damping of a mechanical mode of the zipper ca vity structure to enable closed-loo operation .

26. The OMEMS device of claim 1 , further comprising a beam, splitter configured to split the light beam, transmit a first portion of the split light beam through the zipper cavity structure, and transmit a second portion of the spli light beam to the optica! detector as a reference light beam.

27. The OMEMS device of claim 26, wherein the optical beam source i s a laser source providing a laser beam and the optical detector is a balanced photo detector (BPD),

28. The OMEMS device of claim 27, farther comprising a proportional-integral (PI) controller coupled to the optical detector, the Pi controller configured to lock the laser beam, half a line width red-detuned from an optical resonance of the zipper cavity structure,

29. The OMEMS device of claim 26, further comprising one or more variable optical attenuators to balance optical beam, power.

2?

30. A method for operating an optomechanical acceierometer device, the method comprising: one- of transmitting a light beam through and reflecting a light beam from a zipper cavity structure of the acceieromeier device, wherein the acceieromeier device includes:

a frame;

a test mass;

a plurality of nano-tethers coupling the test mass to the frame; and the zipper cavity structure formed, by a portion of the test mass and an adjacent portion of the frame; and

detecting a displacement of the test mass caused by an in-plane acceleration of the frame by monitoring an effect of the zipper c a vity structure on the transmitted light beam.

31. The method of claim 30, wherein transmitting the transmitted light beam through the zipper cavity structure includes transmitting the light beam through a fiber taper waveguide anchored to the frame onto two patterned photonic crystal, nanobeams, one of the nanobeams formed within the test mass and another of the nanobeams formed within the frame.

32. The method of claim 30, further comprising damping a response characteristic of the acceieromeier device through back-action cooling.

33. The method of claim 30, further comprising employing one or more electrostatic actuators for m~situ tuning of an optical resonance of the zipper cavity.

34. A method for fabricating an optomechanical acceierometer device, the method

comprising:

forming a. mask for acceierometer structures comprising a test mass, support, nano-tethers, and a zipper cavity -structure; and

transferring the mask into a silicon nitride layer formed on a single-crystal silicon wafer.

35. The method of claim 34, further comprising forming the acceierometer structures in a single electron-beam, lithograph step.

36. The method of claim 34, further comprising growing the silicon nitride layer using low- pressure chemical vapor deposition (LPCVD) under conditions that enable large internal tensile- stress.

37. The method of claim 36, wherein the nano-tethers are .formed with an internal tensile stress ranging between about 0.5 and about 10 GPa.

38. The method of claim 34, wherein the silicon nitride layer is about 400 rim thick and the silicon wafer is about 500 μηι thick.

39. The method of claim 34. wherein transferring the mask into the silicon nitride layer includes dry etching by inductively coupled plasma / reactive-ion etching (ICP/RIE).

40. The method of claim 34, further comprising undercu tting the accelerometer structures employing anisotropic wet-etching.

41. The method of claim 34, further comprising preventing a collapse of the zipper cavity structure employing critical point drying in CQj.

Description:
OPTOMECHANICAL ACCELEROMETER

BACKGROUND OOI ] Unless otherwise indicated herein, the materials described in this section are not prior art to the claims in ibis application and are not admitted to be prior art by inclusion in this section.

[0002} The monitoring of accelerations is essen tial for a variety of applications ranging from inertia! navigation to consumer electronics. The basse operation, principle of an

accelerometer is to measure the displacement of a flexibly mounted test mass. Sensitive displacement, measurement may be realized using capaciiive, piezo-ekctrie, tumel-cunrent, or optical techniques. While optical readout provides superior displacement resolution and resilience to electromagnetic interference, conventional optical acceleromeiers either do not allow for chip-scale integration or involve bulky test masses.

SUMMARY

[8803] The present disclosure generally describes techniques for manufacturing and operating an optomechanical accelerometer.

( ' 0004] According t some examples, an optomechanical accelerometer device may be provided. An optomechanical accelerometer device may include a frame, a test mass, a plurality of nano-tethers coupling the test mass to the frame, and a ripper cavity structure formed by a portion of the test mass and an adjacent portion of the frame.

I ' dOS] According to other examples, an optical micrpeleclrpmechanieal system. (OMEMS) device for detecting acceleration may be provided. An example OMBMS device may include an optomechanical accelerometer with a frame, a test mass, a plurality of nano-tethers coupling the test mass to the frame, and a zipper cavity structure formed by a portion of the test mass and an adjacent portion of the frame and. electrostatic tuning capacitors. The OMEMS device may further include an optical beam source configured to direct a light beam onto the zipper cavity structure and ait optical detector configured to detect a displacement of the test mass caused by an in-plane acceleration of the frame. f 0806J According to further examples, a method, for operating an optomechanical aceelerometer device may be provided. An example method may include one of transmitting a light beam through and reflecting a light beam from a zipper cavity structure of the

aceelerometer device, where the aceelerometer device includes a frame, a test mass, a plurality of nano-teihers coupling the test mas to the frame, and the zipper cavity structure formed by a portion of the test mass and an adjacent portion of the frame. The method may further include detecting a displacement of the test mass caused by an in -plane acceleration of the frame by monitoring an. effect of the zipper cavity structure o the transmitted light beam.

{ 007J According to yet other examples, a method for fabricating an optomechanical aceelerometer device may be provided. An example method may include forming a mask for aceelerometer structures comprising a test mass, support nano-tethers, and. a zipper cavity structure and transferring the mask into a silicon nitride layer formed on a single-crystal silicon wafer.

[8008] The foregoing summary is illustrative only and is not intended to be in any way limiting, in addition to the illustrative aspects, embodiments, and features described above, further aspects, embodiments, and features will become apparent by reference to the drawings and the following detailed description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

{0009) The foregoing and other features of this disclosure will become mote fully apparent from the following description and appended claims, taken in conjunction with the

accompanying drawings. Understanding that these drawings depict only several embodiments in accordance with the disclosure and are. therefore, not to be considered limiting of its scope, the disclosure will be described with additional, specificity and detail through use of the

accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1. illustrates an example aceelerometer and the frequency response of the example aceelerometer;

FIG. 2A illustrates an example optomechanical aceelerometer;

FIG. 2B illustrates the optical cavity region of the example optomechani cal aceelerometer of FKX 2A; FIG , 2C illustrates details of an accelerometer structure with a focus on capacitive electrodes for tunin the slot gap separation between the two nanobeams;

FIG. 3 illustrates schematic ' displacement profile of the fundamental in-plane mechanical mode used for acceleration sensing in an optomechanical accelerometer such as the example optomechanical accelerometer ©f FIG, 2 A;

FIG. 4 illustrates an optical power spectral density (PSD) plot of a balanced photo- detector CBPD) signal from an optomechanical accelerometer showing mechanical modes at 27.5 kHz. ami an equivalent displacement noise comparing various noise types and a total of all noise contributions to the BPD signal;

FIG, 5 illustrates two example optomechanical acceieromeiers with different number of tethers and, thereby, resonance frequencies;

F G. 6 illustrates thermal acceleration noise density of fabricated optomechanical aecelerometers with varying numbers of tethers and test mass sizes, including the acceieromeiers in Fig, 5.

FIG. 7 is a flow diagram illustrating an example method for operating an optomechanical accelerometer; and

FIG. 8 illustrates a block diagram of an example computer-program product,

ail arranged in accordance wit at least some embodiments described herein,

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

I ' OOiO] In the following detailed description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, which form a part hereof. In the drawings, similar symbols typically identity similar components, unless context dictates otherwise. The illustrative embodiments described in the detailed description, dra wings, and claims are not meant to be limiting. Other embodiments may be utilized, and other changes may be made, without departing from the spirit or scope of die subject matter presented herein. It wil l be readily understood that the aspects of the present disclosure, as generally described herein, and illustrated In the Figures, can be arranged, substituted, combined, separated, and designed in a wide variety of di fferent configurations, all of which are explicitly contemplated herein. fOOil] This disclosure is generally drawn, infer alia, to methods, apparatus, systems, devices, and/or computer program products related to operating and manufacturing

optomechanical aceelerometers.

( ' 0012] Briefly stated, technologies are generally described for operating and manufacturing optomechanical aceelerometers. In some examples, an optomechanical accelerometer device is described that uses a cavity resonant displacement sensor based on a zipper photonic crystal nano-cavity to measure the displacement of an integrated test mass generated by acceleration applied to the chip. The cavity-resonant sensor may be fully integrated on-chi and exhibit an enhanced displacement resolution due to its strong optomechanical coupling. The accelerometer structure may be fabricated in a silicon nitride thin film and constitute a rectangular test mass flexibly suspended on high aspect ratio inorganic nitride nano-tethers under high tensile stress. By increasing the mechanical Q-faetors through adjustment of tether width and tether length, the noise-equivalent acceleration (ΝΈΑ) may be reduced, while maintaining a large operation bandwidth. The mechanical Q-faetor may be improved with thinner (e.g., <1 micron) and longer tethers (e.g., 10-560 microns).

(0013! PIG. 1 illustrates an example accelerometer and the frequency response of the example accelerometer.

( ' 0014] As shown in diagram 1.00, an accelerometer includes a test mass (m) 1.04, which when subjected to an acceleration a(to) at irequenc m (102) experiences a displacement X(OJ) ~ %(<3>).a(«e) proportional to the mechanical susceptibility % (o ) ~ ; e> * m - co" + i(m.f. . !}! )/Q m . Here {!½ is the angular resonance frequency of the oscillator and Q M Is the mechanical quality factor. Put another way, when the accelerometer experiences a constant acceleration a, the test mass 104 may undergo a displacement of x (1.06) ::: ma k. Diagram 110 illustrates the frequency response plot 1 12 of such an example accelerometer for Q m - 10 in a log- log format. As mentioned previously, aceelerometers are typically operated bei.ow their fundamental resonance frequency o½, where χ(ω) - 1/ e> A m exhibits an almost flat frequency-response as show in the plot 1 12,

[0015] hi a cavity optomechanical system, a mechanically compliant electromagnetic cavity may be used to resonantly-enhance read out of mechanical motion. Such systems may enable motio detection measurements with an imprecision at or below the standard quantum limi (SQL), corresponding t the position uncertainty in the quantum ground state of the mechanical object. The actual displacement sensitivity may reach the SQL. for an ideal cavity system (no parasitic losses) due to fluctuating radiation pressure forces arising from shot noise of the probe tight. The average radiation pressure force, on the other hand, may be relatively large in micro- and nano-seale optomechanical devices, and may offer a capability to control the sensor bandwidth via the optica! spring effect and the sensor's effective, tempera Lure via passive damping or feedback cold-damping.

f{MH6| Due to the rapid development of silicon micro machining technology,

microeiectromechanical systems (MEMS) aceelerometers have become exceedingly popular. Evolving from airbag deployment sensors in. automobiles to tilt-sensors in cameras and consumer electronics products. MEMS aceelerometers may be .found in a large variety of technological applications with diverse needs of their performance metrics.

\iWl7\ menial sensors are commonly used in navigation, guidance, balancing, human interface, and similar applications. Depending on a type of application (three dimensional, planar, or linear),, one, two, or three aceelerometers may be positioned, with orthogonal measuring axes to measure inertia! acceleration along respective axes.

JtHilS] While sensors for inertial navigation systems need low noise levels and superior bias stability, large bandwldths are needed tor sensors in acoustics and vibrometry applications. However, there may be a fundamental tradeoff between noise performance and bandwidth. When subjected to an acceleration at a frequency, a mechanically compliant test mass will experience a displacement proportional to the mechanical susceptibility. Aceelerometers may typically be operated below their fundamental esonance frequency leading to a tradeoff between, resolution and bandwidth, since the large resonance frequency needed for high-speed operation may result in vanishingly small displacements. As a. result, the performance of the displacement sensor may constitute a central, figure of merit of an acceierometer.

J(XiI9] FIG. 2A illustrates an example optomechanical acceierometer, arranged in accordance with at least some embodiments described herein.

(0020] Diagram 200 shows a optomechanical acceierometer device with a test mass structure 222 and nano-tefhers 226. A zipper c vity structure 220 including two patterned photonic crystal nanobeaois, one attached to the test mass structure .222 and one anchored to the rigid side 224. The cross-shaped cuts 228 on the test mass structure 222 may facilitate undercutting the device. The cuts may be in any suitable form and number in other

embodiments. Θ021] A light source for detecting the displacement in the cavity doe to acceleration may be in visible, ultraviolet (UV), infrared IR), and near those optical, wavelength ranges.

Furthermore,, other ranges, such as radar wavelengths may be used with meta-material based cavities. In an example scenario, the aeceierometer device in diagram .200 may be designed to operate in the telecom band with a measured optical mode resonance at λο !!! 1537 nm and an optical Q-facior of Q s , ::: 9500, With the optical cavity field being largely confined to the slot 230 between the nanobeams, the optical resonance frequency may be sensitively coupled to relative motion of the nanobeams in the plane of the accele.rom.eter device, A displacement of the test mass caused b an in-plane acceleration of the supporting microchip may then be read-out optically, where the optical tran m sion through or reflection from the photonic crystal cavity ma be monitored via an evanescently coupled fiber taper waveguide anchored to the rigid side of the cavity, for example. Utilizing a narrow bandwidth (e.g., < 300 kHz) laser source, with laser frequency detuned to the red side of the cavity resonance, fluctuations of the resonance frequency due to motion of the test mass may be translated linearly into amplitude fluctuations of the transmitted laser light field in some examples.

{0022] Other techniques of coupling light into the zipper cavity structure ma include End- Fire coupling -with an on-chip tapered waveguide. An optical fiber may be integrated, for example, by gluing into v-groove with UV epox , which may efficiently couple light into a curved waveguide which m turn may couple to the optical resonator on the edge of the test-mass. The waveguide and optics may be supported by horizontal tethers. Further approaches of coupling light into the zipper cavity structure may include, but are not limited to, single- sided evanescent fiber coupling to an on-chip waveguide or free-space grating coupler.

|0tt23j FIG. 2B illustrates the optical cavity region of the example optomechanical aeceierometer of FIG. 2A, arranged in accordance with at least some embodiments described herein.

{ ' 0024] The zipper cavity structure 220 of diagram 200 is shown in .more detail in FIG. 2B. The zipper cavit structure 220 may include patterned structures 232, 234, 236, and 238 with the slot 230 between two sides of the zipper cavity structure. The slot width may typically be 50-500 nm and the length may range between 10 arid 50 microns. This slot width may increase

(decrease) as the test-mass moves away from (towards) the rig.td side. The top side of the zipper cavit structure may be embedded into the rigid side of the accelerometer while the lower side is embedded into the test mass structure 222. A zipper cavity may be formed by a portion of the test mass and a. portion of the frame, each portion including a photonic crystal, the portions being spaced apart and separated by a slot. In some examples, the zipper cavity may include ' an elongated beam formed in the test mass. In some examples, the zipper cavity may include an elongated beam formed in the frame. An elongated beam formed in the test mass may be generally parallel to an elongated beam formed in the -frame,, each beam including a photonic crystal, with the beams forming the side walls of a slot structure. A. suitable photonic cavity may also be formed from two parallel sides of a two-dimensional photonic crystal separated by a slot gap- f(H)25j An optomechanical accekroraeter according to some embodiments may use a cavity resonant displacement sensor based on a zipper photonic crystal nanoeavity to measure the displacement of an integrated test mass generated by an acceleration applied to the chip. In some examples, the cavity-resonant sensor may be fully integrated on-chip and exhibit a displacement resolution on the order of a few ft /rt Ex due to its strong optomechanical coupling.

{8826] According to some embodiments, the accelerorneter structure may be fabricated in a silicon nitride thin film and constitute a rectangular test mass flexibly suspended on high aspect ratio silicon nitride nano-teihers under high tensile stress. The relatively large mechanical Q~ iaciors may enable reduction of therrnomeehankal acceleration noise to a level of 1 ~micro-g/rt- Hz, while keeping a resonance frequency of about 27 kHz (and thereby an operation bandwidth up to this frequency) and retaining small sizes.

{8027} The performance metrics of an accelerometer according to embodiments may be further enhanced, for example, by reducing the thermal noise floor through increasing the mass while keepin the resonance frequency at a constant high value by controlling the device stiffness (e.g., by addin nano ethers). The use of many thin tethers to maintain high frequencies in larger mass devices instead of employing the same number of tethers with increased width may maintain the high quality factors in these structures. The use of wider tethers may reduce the mechanical quality factor and thus decrease device performance,

{8028] In some examples, relatively small test masses on. the order of 10-5000 nanograms may be employed allowing for harnessing radiation-pressure based optical back-action effects, for example for dynamically tuning the resonance frequency (and thereby the sensitivity / resolution) of the accelerometer or for optically damping the structure to avoid ringing effects when the sensor is subjected to a step input

(0829J In other examples, the accelerometer may be fully integrated on-chip and fabricated using mkromaehinirig techniques in a single lithography step. The accelerometer may allow for the integration with on-chip waveguide couplers and chip-based readout/calibratioa electronics. Electrostatic actuators may allow for nvsitu tuning of the optical resonance and damping of the mechanical mode enabling closed-loop operation and thereby enhancing the dynamic range. F example, electrostatic actuators may be used to adjust, the relative position of the rigid and flexible sides, thus changing the slot gap size. In some examples, an electrostatic potential between electrical conductors in the test mass and in the frame may be adjusted, so as to modify the positio of the test mass relative to the frame;, for example modif ing the slot width.

(0030) FIG, 2C illustrates details of an aeet erometer structure with a focus on capacitive electrodes for tuning the slot gap separation, between the two nanobearns, arranged in accordance with at least some embodiments described herein.

(00311 As shown, in diagram .240, the optical slot 244 is between two individual photonic crystal beams 242, The size of the slot may be adjusted using an electrostatic force generated between pairs of metal wires 246, In some examples, a laser source may be used to insert light int the optical modes of the zipper cavity structure between, the two photonic crystal beams 24.2, The Sight may be confined in the optical slot regio making the optical, mode frequency (m e ) highly sensitive to the- separation $ of the two beams with an. optomechanical, coupling of ΘΘΜ - 9ci) c fds — a> c /l 0M . The electrostatic actuators (i.e. the pairs of contacts with the underlying silicon nitride) may form a capacitance {capacitance C% which may create an electrostatic force F ei ~ (1/2) (dC/dw 9 ) V ( when applying a voltage V a across the capacitor gap Wg (Fig2. d,e). The capacitor gap is the gap between the two wires 246, ¾ may lead to contraction of the capacitor gap, thus polling the "rigid" side of the test mass closer to the frame and increasing the optical slot gap 244 size, thereby, tuning the cavity resonance. The slot width may range between 50 and 500 n.m and the slot length may range between 10 and 50 microns in some examples.

|0032) FIG. 3 illustrates schematic displacement profile of the fundamental in-plane mechanical mode used for acceleration sensing in an optomechanical accelerometer such as the example optomechanical acceleromeier of FIG, 2 A, arranged in accordance with at least some embodiments described herein.

(0833J The fundamental in-plane mechanical mode of the optomechanical acceierometer structure of FIG. 2 A is depicted in diagram 300 with patterned structures 232, 234 of the zipper cavit structure, slot 23 separating the two sides of the zipper cavity structure and test mass structure- 304 tethered through nano-tethers. The shading on the different parts of the structure corresponds to a color map representing the mechanical mode's displacement.

(0034] Irs an example scenario, the. fundamental in-plane mechanical mode may have a frequency of f m .27.5 kHz with a motional mass of m ::: 1.0*IO "l2 kg and a mechanical quality factor Qi fl ∞ 1,4* 1 ° (in vacuum.) resulting in an estimated thermal noise a*™ 1.4 &'Ηζ .

( ' 08351 HG. 4 illustrates an optical power spectral density (PSD) plot of a balanced photo- detector (BFD) signal from an optomechanical acceiero.meter showing mechanical modes at 27.5 kHz and an equivalent displacement noise comparing various noise types and a total of all noise contributions to the BPD signal arranged in accordance with at least some embodiments described herein,

(08361 The PSD plot 400 shows a time trace of the transduction, of an example applied acceleration of 35.6 mg at 25 kHz (442). Curve 444 represents the electronic PSD of the optically transduced, signal obtained from an acceierometer such as the .accelerometer of FIG. 2A. For the example results, the cavity may be driven with an incident laser power of Ι η :~ 1 16 mW, yielding an intraeavity photon number of* 430. The two peaks around 27.5 kHz may arise from thermal Brownian motion of the fundamental in- and oui-of-plane mechanical eigenmodes of the suspended test mass,

[0037 j The transduced signal level of the fundamental in-plane resonance, the mode used for acceleration sensing, may be consistent with an optomechanical coupling constant of govs ~ 2π*5.5 GHz/iim, where goM :::: duWdx may be defined as the optical cavity frequency shift per unit displacement The curve 450 depicts the theoretical thermal noise background of this mode. T e series of sharp features between zero frequency (DC) and 15 kHz may be due to mechanical resonances of the anchored fiber-taper. The noise background level in PSD plot 400 is dommated by photon shot-noise, an estimate of which Is indicated by the curve 448, The curve 452 corresponds to the electronic photodetector noise, and the curve 446 represents the sum of ail noise terms. The broad noise at lower frequencies may arise from fiber-taper motion and acoustic pick-up from the environment The right hand axis m FIG. 4 qitantifi.es the optically transduced PSD in units of equivalent transduced displacement, amplitude of the fundamental in-plane mode of the test mass, showing a measured shot-noise-dominated displacement imprecision of about 4 fm/Hz :i . A balanced detection scheme may allo for efficient rejection of laser amplitude noise, yielding shot noise limited detection for frequencies above approximately 1 kHz.

(0038) In aii example configuration, a laser light may be used to probe the zipper cavity motion, and split with a beam splitter. The signal arm may be sent through a fiber polarization controller (FPC) and a fiber taper, which ma be coupled to the optical cavity, while the other arm may be sent directly to a balanced photo-detector (BPD). Variable optical attenuators (VOA) in each arm may balance the powers, and a power meter (PM) may be used to calibrate the probe power. The BPD signal may be sent to a proportional-integral controller (PI) locking the laser half a line width red-detuned from, the optical resonance. Transduced accelerations may be measured using either an electronic spectrum analyzer (ESA) or a lock-in amplifier.

(0039) FIG. 5 illustrates two example optomechanical aeeeleratoeters with different tethers and, thereby, resonance frequencies, arranged in. accordance with at least some embodiments described herein.

{0O4OJ Diagram 500 shows two example versions of the acceleromeier device of FIG. 2 A with increased number of tethers coupled to the test mass structure. Example aece!erorneter 550 includes 12 tethers 552 and example acceleromeier 560 includes 42 tethers 562.

f § 41 } Adding mass alone may result in a reduction of the sensor bandwidth. However, by scaling a number of nano-tether suspensions with the test, mass size the bandwidth may be maintained substantially constant. Moreover, adding nano-tethers may not result in a degradation of the mechanical Q-faetor. Thus, a size of the test mass structure and a number of the nano- tethers may be adjusted independently or simultaneously. For example, simultaneously scaling the width of the test mass and the number of nano-tefhers by a factor of 1 0 on the example acceleromeier device shown in FIG, 2A, may reduce the thermal noise-equivalent acceleration (NBA) tenfold or more.

($042) The resolution of an acceleromeier may be quantified by a noise-equivalent

acceleration (NEA). which may be defined as the square root of the sum of the squares o thermal noise due to Brownian motion (a»h), displacement readout noise (a**) due to the photo detector, and added noise (back-action) onto the test mass due to the act of measurement ( m)- f . 0043] To minimize the NBA, the intrinsic thermal noise may be reduced, which involves maximizing the mass-Q product at a given <¾½. In conventional acceleroraeters, the Q-factor is relatively low, which demands large test masses for high resolution, in contrast, hi the zipper cavity structure based accelerometer devices according to some embodiments may use nano- tether suspension of a nanogram test mass to yield high intrinsic mechanical Q-factors (1 -2 * 1(f) and strong theraio-optomechameaJ back-action to damp- and cool the thermal moiion of the test mass.

|0044] FIG. 6 illustrates thermal acceleration noise density of the two example optomechanical aeceieromeiers of FIG. 5, arranged in accordance with at least some embodiments described herein.

100 5] Diagram 600 depicts a calculated a f h versus the mechanical frequency of a number of example acceierom.eter devices in curve 676, Curve 676 is obtained by adding mass with fixed Q„ > and spring constant k, while the curve 674 is obtained by varying k while keeping Q m and m fixed. Varying both m and k may allow for independent control of bandwidth and resolution, for example along the line 678, where the ratio k/m is constant. The inset 672 shows Q m for the accelerometer devices along the curve 676 versus number of nano-tethers attached to the test mass.

[0046] Accelerometer devices according to some embodiments may be formed from a silicon, chip and allow for the integration of electrostatic tuning-capacitors, fiber-coupled on-chip waveguides, and on-chip electronics, which enable convenient, small form-factor packaging and may eliminate a need for expensive tunable lasers. In addition, nanoscale■optomechanical cavities may offer a resource of strong radiation pressure back-action. The optical spring effect; for example, may allow for dynamic tuning of the mechanical resonance frequency, which may increase the low-frequency displacement .response (inverse quadraticaSly with frequency) and decrease thermal noise (with the square root of frequency), Moreover, back-action cooling may provide a resource to damp the response of the oscillator without compromising the resolution.

1 . 0047] According to some embodiments, an accelerometer structure ma be constructed in an about 400 nm thick silicon nitride (SIN) layer formed on top of an about 500 mm thick single- crystal silicon wafer. The SiN may be stoichiometric and may be grown in low-pressure chemical vapor deposition (LPCVD) under conditions that allow for large internal tensile stress (e.g., s ranging between about 0.5 and about 10 GPa). The accelerometer structures comprising the test mass, the support, oaoo-teihers, and the zipper cavity may be formed in a single electron- beam lithography step. The mask .may be transferred into the SiN layer using inductively coupled plasma / reactive-ion etching (IGP/RIE) dry etching in a SF6 ;:: 4F8 plasma, for example. Resist residues may be removed in a combination of heated Microposit 1 165 remover and Piranha solution (3: 1 H2S04: H202) at 120 °C, The structures may be undercut by anisotropic wet- etching in 70 °C hoi KOH and cleaned in a second Piranha etching step. Critical point dying in C02 may avoid collapsing of the zipper cavities.

(0048) FIG. 7 is a flow diagram illustrating an example method for operating an optomechanical accelerometer arranged in accordance with at least some embodiments described herein,

(0049] Example methods may include one or more operations, functions or actions as illustrated by one or more of blocks 722, 724, 726, and/or 728, and ma in some embodiments be performed on an accelerometer device such as the accelerometer device in FIG. 2A. The operations described in the blocks 722-728 may also be stored as computer-executable instructions in a computer-readable medi m such as a computer-readable medium 720 of a computing device 71.0.

(0050J An example process for operating, an optomechanical accelerometer may begin at optional block 722, "SELECT SIZE OF TEST MASS AND/OR NUMBER OF TETHERS FOR DESIRED BANDWIDTH & REDUCED NEA", where a size (and thereby the mass) of the test mass 222 and/or a. number of nano-tetliers 226 connecting- the test mass to the .rigid frame 224 may be selected for a desired operating frequency (thereby the bandwidth) and reduced noise- equivalent acceleration,

[0051] Optional block 722 may be followed by block 724, "TRANSMIT LIGHT BEAM ONTO ZIPPE CAVITY STRUCTURE STRADDLING A SLOT BETWEEN RIGID FRAME AND TEST MASS", where a focused light beam such as a laser beam may be transmitted onto the zipper cavity structure 220 symmetrically formed on either side of a slot between the test mass 2.22 and the. rigid frame 224, The accelerometer structure (including the zipper ca vity structure, the test mass, and the nano-tethers) may be integrated into a single MEMS device along with the light source in some embodiments.

(0052) Block 724 may be followed by block 726, "DETECT ACCELERATION BASED ON DISPLACEMENT OF TEST MASS BY CAPTURING THE EFFECT OF THE ZIPPER CAVITY STRUCTURE ON TRANSMITTED LIGH BEAM", a photo detector may capture reflected or transmitted light from the zi pper cavity structure and detect the displacement of the test mass corresponding to the acceleration imposed, on the entire structure. The photo detector may also be an integrated part of the MEMS device.

[0053] Block 72 may be followed by optional block 728, "DAMP RESPONSE OF ACCELEROMFI'ER USING BACK-ACTION COOLING", where a response characteristic of the accelerometer device may be damped through back-action cooling further reducing NEA and enhancing dynamic range of the accelerometer.

[0054] FIG. 8 illustrates a block diagram of an example computer program product arranged in accordance with at least some embodiments described herein.

[0055] In some examples, as shown in FIG, ' 8, the computer program product 800 may include a signal bearing medium 802 that ma also include one or more machine readable instructions 804 that, when executed by, tor example, an accelerometer device may provide the functionality described herein. Thus, for example, referring t the accelerometer of FL 2 A, a MEM ' S device that includes the accelerometer may undertake one or more of the tasks shown in FIG. 8 in response to the instructions 804 conveyed by the medium 802 to perform actions associated with acceleration detection through an optomechanical accelerometer as described herein. Some of those instructions may include, for example, selecting size of test mass and/or number of tethers for desired bandwidth & reduced NEA, transmitting light beam onto zipper cavity structure straddlin a slot between rigid frame and test mass, detecting acceleration based on displacement of test mass by capturing the effect of the zipper cavity structure on transmitted light beam, and damping response of accelerometer using back-action cooling, according to some embodiments described herein.

[0056] In some irapiemenlations, the signal bearing medium 802 depicted in FIG, 8 may encompass a computer-readable .medium 806, such as, but not limited to, a hard disk drive, a solid state drive, a Compact Disc (CD), a Digital Versatile Disk (DVD), a digital tape, memory, etc. In some implementations, the signal bearing medium. 802 may encompass a recordable medium 808, such as, but not limited to, memory, read/write (R W) CDs, R/W DVDs, etc. In some implementations, the signal bearing medium 802 may encompass a communications medium 810, such as, but not limited to, a digital and/or an analog communication medium (e.g., a fibe optic cable, a waveguide, a wired communications link, a wireless communication Sink, etc.). Thus, for example, the program product 800 may be conveyed to one or more modules of the processor 804 by an RF signal bearing medium, where the signal bearing medium 802 is conveyed by the wireless communications medium 810 (e.g., a wireless communications medium conforming with the IEEE 802.1 1 standard).

Alternative Configurations

{0057J The use of material with large in-plane stress according to embodiments increases the mechanical frequencies and the mechanical Q-factor. In some examples, a single test mass ma be used to- detect in-plane and out-of-plane motion, as these have different frequency modes. Alternatively, orthogonal devices may provide three-dimensional motion sensing. n yet another approach, the test mass may be configured to define photonic (zipper) cavities in different planes. Examples include a chip-scale optomechanical aceelerometer device, comprising a rigid frame, a test mass; a one or more nano-tethers coupling the test mass to the rigid frame; and a zipper cavity structure formed by a portion of the test mass and. an adjacent portion of the frame. In this context, a chip-scale acee!erometer is of a size that may be integrated on-chip, for example with supporting electronic circuit components, and/or with other accekroraeters. For example, the frame may have a lateral dimension in the plane of the chip that is greater than 3 microns up to the extent of the chip. The frame may he rigid in that motion of the test mass is effectively due entirely to motion of the tethers, and test mass motion due to acceleration- induced frame distortion may be neglected. An aceclcrometcr may be integrated on-chip with supporting electronic circuitry for signal processing, or otherwise used with an electronic circuit operable to determine acceleration or properties derived therefrom (such as displacement, motion detection, energy expenditure, frequency, frequency change, and the like),

}0058| A further approach may include a piezoelectric transducer to induce vibration.

Changes in resonance frequency may then be sensitively detected, allowing monitoring of ambient conditions, changes in properties of surrounding fluidic media, analyte adhesion to the test mass, and comparable environments. Furthermore, electric fields may be used to tune the cavity. For example, electric fields may be generated using conducting tethers to stabilize the test mass. Fields may be electromagneticaliy induced i isolated electrodes. A piezoelectric element may be used to adjust test mass or beam position^), exert additional force on a tether, etc. The structure may also be composed out of other highly-stressed (e.g., - IGPa) optically transparent thin-film materials such as Aluminum Nitride. Example Application Environments:

|0O59j Aecelerometers may have multiple applications in industry and science. For example, highly sensitive aecelerometers may be used as components of inertial navigation systems for aircraft and missiles. ecelerometers may also be used io detect and monitor vibration in rotating machinery. In more recent past, aecelerometers are used increasingly in tablet computers, smart phones, -and digital cameras- for image -stability and as an input mechanism.

{0060] Further example applications may include measurement of vehicle acceleration and vibration. Similarly, vibration may be measured using an acceierometer on machines, buildings, process control systems and/or safety installations. Furthermore, seismic activity, inclination, machine vibration, dynamic distance and. speed with or without the influence of gravity may be measured using aecelerometers.

{ ' 0061] in bi ology , aecelerometers may be used to detect movemen of animals (as well as humans) and allow study of behavioral patterns in native environments without the need for visual observation. Examples include exercise monitoring equipment using an acceierometer as described. Further, but not exhaustive, examples of use for aecelerometers may include human activities - walking, running, dancing or skipping; working machines - inside a building or in the surrounding area; construction - driving piles, . demolition, drilling and excavating; moving loads on bridges; vehicle collisions; impact loads - falling debris; concussion loads -· internal and external, explosions; collapse of structural elements; wind loads and wind gusts; air blast pressure; and comparable ones.

{0062] According to some examples, an optomechanical acceierometer device may be provided. An optomechanical acceierometer devke may include a frame, a test mass, a plurality ofnano-tethers coupling the test mass to the frame, and a zipper cavity structure formed by a portion of the test mass and an adjacent portion of the frame,

{0063] According to other examples, the zipper cavity structure may be formed by a photonic crystal in the test mass and a second photonic crystal in the frame, separated by a slot. The nano-tethers may be configured to provide elongated mechanical support. The zipper cavily structure may include two patterned photonic crystal nanobeams, one of the nanobeams .formed within the test mass and another of the nanobeams formed within the .frame. f0864] According to further examples, the accelerometer device may also include a fiber taper waveguide anchored to the frame in. a vicinity of the zipper cavity structure, where t he waveguide is configured to couple a light beam to the zipper cavity structure monitor the photonic crystal nanobeams for detecting a displacement of the test mass caused by an in-plane acceleration of the frame. At least one of a size of the test mass and/or a number of the nano- tethers may be selected such that a noise-equivalent acceleration (NBA) of the accelerometer device is reduced and a mechanical quality factor of the device is increased. The size of the test mass and/or the number of the nano-tethers ma also be selected, such that an operational bandwidth of the accelerometer device is substantially maintained.

[0965] According to yet other examples, the accelerometer device may be fabricated in a silicon nitride thin film. The accelerometer device may be integrated into a

microelectromechamcal system (MEMS) device. The test mass may include one or more cuts to facilitate undercutting the accelerometer device, where the cuts may be cross-shaped and substantially evenly distributed on the test mass. A response characteristic of the accelerometer device may be damped through back-action cooling. A sensor bandwidth may be controlled by an optica! spring effect and an effective temperature of the sensor may be controlled by one of passive damping and feedback cold-damping. Moreover, one or more electrostatic actuators may be used for in-situ tuning of an optical resonance of the zipper cavity structure and damping of a mechanical mode of the zipper cavity structure to enable closed-loop operation. The

accelerometer device may be fabricated in a single lithography step.

{0066} According to other examples, an optical microelectromechanica ' l system (OMEMS device for detecting acceleration may he provided. An example OMEMS device may include an optomechanical accelerometer with a frame, a test mass, a plurality of nano-tethers coupling the test mass to the frame, and a zipper cavity structure formed by a portion of the test mass and an adjacent portion of the frame. The OMEMS device may further include an. optical beam source configured to direct a light beam onto the zipper cavity structure and an optical detector configured to detect a displacement of the test mass caused by an in-plane acceleration of the inane.

[0067J According to some examples, the optical, detector may be configured to detect the displacement of the test mass based on a variation of light transmission through or reflection from the zipper cavity structure. The zipper cavity structure may include two patterned photonic crystal nanobeams and a slot, one of the nanobeams formed as a portion of the test mass and another of the n anobeams formed as a portion of t he frame, the nanobeams being separated by the slot The MEMS device may further include ' a fiber taper waveguide coupled to the optical detector and anchored to the frame in a vicinity of the zipper cavity structure to receive Light transmitted through or reflected from the nanobeams,

|(HI6 | According to further examples, at least one of a size of the test mass and/or a number of the nano-tethers may be selected such thai a .noise-equivalent acceleration (NBA) of the accelerometer device is reduced, and a mechanical quality factor of * the device is increased. The size of the test mass and/or the number of the nano-tethers may also be selected such that an operational bandwidth of the accelerometer device is substantially maintained. The

accelerometer device may be fabricated in a silicon nitride thin film, where the test mass may include one or more cuts to facilitate undercutting the accelerometer device. A response ' characteristic of the accelerometer device may be damped through back-action cooling,

|0fK»9j According to yet other examples, the MEMS device may further includ one or more electrostatic actuators for in-sift? tuning of an optical resonance of the zipper cavity

structure and damping of a mechanical mode of the zipper cavity structure to enable closed-loop operation. The MEMS device may also include a beam splitter configured to split the light beam, transmi t a first portion of the split light beam through, the zipper cavity structure, and transmit a second portion of the split light beam to the optical detector as a reference light beam. The optical beam source may be a laser source providing a laser beam and the optica! detector may be a balanced photo detector (BPD), The EMS device may further include a proportional - integral (PI) controller coupled to the optical detector, the Pi controller configured to lock the laser beam half a line width red-detuned from an optical resonance of the zipper cavity structure. The MEMS device may also include one or more variable optical attenuators to balance optical beam power.

|0070| According to further examples, a method for operating an optomechanical accelerometer device may be provided. An example method may include transmitting a light beam through a zipper cavity structure of the accelerometer device, where the acederometer device includes a frame, a test mass, a plurality of nano-tethers coupling the test mass to the frame, and the zipper cavity structure formed by a portion, of the test mass and an adjacent portion of the frame. The method may further include detecting a displacement of the test mass caused by an in-plane acceleration of the frame by monitoring an effect of the zipper cavity structure on the transmitted light beam..

(087! J According to some examples, transmitting the transmitted light beam through the zipper ca vity structure may include transmitting the light beam through a fiber taper waveguide anchored to the frame onto two patterned photonic crystal na.nobea.ras, one of the nanobearns formed within the test mass and another of the nanobeams formed within, the frame. The method may also include damping a response characteristic of the aecelerometer device through back- action cooling. The method ma further include employing one or more electrostatic actuators for hvsiiu tuning of an optical resonance of the zipper cavity,

[0072] According to yet other examples, a method for fabricating an optomechanical aecelerometer device may be provided. An example method ma include forming a mask for aecelerometer structures, comprising a test mass, support nano-tethers, and a zipper cavity structure and transferring the mask into a silicon nitride layer formed on a single-crystal silicon wafer.

[0073] According to further examples, the method may further include forming the aecelerometer structures in a single electron-beam lithography step and/or growing the silicon nitride layer using low-pressure chemical, vapor deposition (LPCVD) under conditions that enable large internal tensile stress. The nano-tethers. may be formed with an about 800 Pa internal tensile stress. The silicon nitride layer ma be about 400 nm thick and the silicon wafer ma be about 500 μι.η thick. Transferring the mask into the silicon nitride layer may include dry etching by inductively coupled plasma / reactive-ion. etching (IGP RIE). The method may further include undercutting the aecelerometer structures employing anisotropic wet-etching and/or preventing a. collapse of the zipper cavity structure employing critical point drying in CO,.

f Θ074] There is little distinction left between hardware and software implementations of aspects of systems; the use of hardware or software is generally (but not always, in that in certain contexts the choke between hardware and software may become significant) a design choice representing cost vs. efficienc tradeoffs. There are various vehicles by which processes and/or systems and/Or other technologies described herein may be effected (e.g., hardware, software, and/or -firmware), and that the preferred vehicle will vary with the context in which the processes and or systems and/or other technologies are deployed. For example, if an implementer determines that speed and accuracy are paramount, the iroplenienier may opt for a mainly hardware and/or firmware vehicle; if flexibility is paramount, the i plementer may opt for a mainly software implementation; or, yet again alternatively, the implementer may opt for some combination of hardware, software, and/or firmware.

[0075] The foregoing detailed description has set forth various embodiments of the devices and/or processes via the use of block diagrams, flowcharts, and/or examples, insofar as such block diagrams, flowcharts, and/or examples contain one or more .functions and/or operations, it will be understood by those within the art that each function and/or operation within such block diagrams, .flowcharts, or examples may be implemented, individually and/or collectively, by a wide range of hardware, soft ware, firmware, o virtually any combination thereof in one embodiment, several portions of the subject matter described herein may be implemented via Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs), Field .Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), digital signal processors (DSPs), or other integrated, formats. However, those skilled in the art will recognize that some aspects of the embodiments disclosed herein, in whole or in part, may be equivalently implemented in integrated circuits, as one or more computer programs running on one or more computers (e.g., as one or more programs running on one or more computer systems), as one or more programs running on one or more processors (e.g., as one or more programs running on one or more microprocessors), as firmware, or as virtually any combination thereof, and that designing the circuitry and/or writing the code for the software and or firmware would be well within the skill of one of skill in the art in light of this disclosure.

{01176} The present disclosure is not to be limited in terms of the particular embodiments described in. this application, which are intended as illustrations of various aspects. Many modifications and variations can be made without departing from its spirit and scope, as will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Functionally eiiuivaient meiiiods and apparatuses within the scope of the disclosure, in addition to those enumerated herein, will be apparent to those skilled in the art. from the foregoing descriptions. Such modifications and variations are intended to tali within the scope of the appended claims. The present disc losure is to be limited only by the terms of the appended claims, along with the foil scope of equivalents to which such claims are entitled, it is to be understood that this disclosure is not limited to particular methods, reagents, compounds compositions or biological systems, which can, of course, vary, it is also to be understood that the terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular

embodiments only, and is not Intended to be limiting.

(0077] In addition, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the mechanisms of the subject matter described herein are capable of being distributed as a program product in a variety of forms, and that an illustrative embodiment of the subject matter described herein applies regardless of the particular type of signal bearing medi um, used to actually carry out the

distribution, Kxaraples of a signal bearing medium include, but are not limited to, the following: a recordable type medium such as a floppy disk, a hard disk drive, a Compact Disc (CD), a Digital Versatile Disk (DVD), a digital tape, a computer .memory, a solid state drive, etc.; and a transmission type medium such as a digital and/or an analog communication medium (e.g., a fiber optic cable, a waveguide, a wired communications link, a wireless communication link, etc,).

I ' 0078 ' l Those skilled In the art will recognize that it is common within the art to describe devices and/or processes in the fashion set forth herein, and thereafter use engineering practices to integrate such described devices and/or processes into data processing systems. That is, at least a portion of the devices and/or processes described herein may be integrated into a data processing system via a reasonable amount of experimentation. Those having skill in the art will recognize that a typical data processing system .generally includes one or more of a system, unit housing, a video display device, a memory such as volatile and :n.on~ ol tile memory, processor such as .microprocessors and digital signal processors, computational entities such as operating systems, drivers, graphical user interfaces . , and applications programs, one or more interaction devices, such as a touch pad or screen, and/or control systems including feedback loops and control motors (e.g., feedback ibr sensing position and/or velocity of gantry systems; control motors for moving and/or adjusting components and/or quantities).

[CNI79J A typical data processing system may be implemented utilizing any suitable commercially available components, such as those typically found in data

computing/communication and/or network computing/communication systems. The herein described subject matter sometimes illustrates different components contained within, or connected with, different other components. It is to be understood that such depicted

architectures are merely exemplary, and that in fact many other architectures may be

implemented which achieve the same functionality. In a conceptual sense, any arrangement of components to achieve the same functionality is effectively "associated" such that the desired functionality is achieved. Hence, any two components herein combined to achieve a particular functionality may be seen as "associated with" each other such that the desired fiinctioriaiUy is achieved, irrespective of architectures or intermediate components. Likewise, any two components so associated may also be viewed as being "operably connected", or "operably coupled", to each other to achieve, the desired functionality, and any two components capable of being so associated may also be viewed as being "operably couplable", to each other to achieve the desired functionality. Specific examples of operably couplable include but. are not limited to physically connectable and/or physically interacting components and or wirelessly interaetable and/or wirelessly interacting components and/or logically interacting and/or logically interaetable components,

(0080) With respect to the use of substantially any plural and or singular terms herein, those having skill in the art can translate from the plural to the singular and/or from the singular to the plural as is appropriate to the context and/or application. The various singular/plural permutations may be expressly set forth herein for sake of clarity,

(0081 ) it will he understood by those within the art thai, in general, terms used herein, and especially in the appended claims (e.g., bodies of the appended claims) are generally intended as "open" terms (e.g., the term "including * ' should be interpreted as "including but not limited to," the term "having" should be interpreted as "having at least," the terra "includes" should be interpreted as "includes but is .not limited to," etc.). It wil l be further understood by those within the art that if a specific number of an introduced claim recitation is intended, such an intent will be explicitly recited in the claim, and in the absence of such recitation .no such intent is present. For example, as an. aid to understanding, the following appended claims may contain usage of the introductor phrases "at least one" and "one or more" to introduce claim recitations.

However, the use of such phrases should not be construed to imply that the introduction of a claim recitation by the indefinite articles "a" or "an" limits any particular claim containing such introduced claim recitation to embodiments containing only one such -recitation, even when the same claim, includes the introductory phrases "one or more" or "at least one" and indefinite articles such as "a" or "an" (e.g.. "a" and/or "an" should be interpreted to mean "at least one" or "one or more"); the same holds true for the use of definite articles used to introduce claim recitations, In addition, even if a specific number of an introduced claim recitation is explicitly

2i recited, those skilled in the art will recognize that such recitation should he interpreted to mean at least the recited number the bare recitation of "two .recitations," without other modifiers, means at least two recitations, or two or more recitations).

( ' 0082] Furthermore, in those instances where a convention analogous to "at least one of A, B, and C, etc," is used, in general such a construction is intended in the sense one having skill in the art would understand the convention, (e.g., " a system having at least one of A. B, and C" would include but not be limited to systems that have A alone, B alone, C alone, A and B together, A and C together, 13 and C together, and/or A, B, and C together, etc.). It will be further understood by those within the art that virtually any disjunctive word and/or phrase presenting two or more alternative terms, whether in the description, claims, or drawings, should be understood to contemplate the possibilities of including one of the terms, either of the terms, o both terms. For example, the phrase "A or B" will be understood to include the possibilities of "A" or "B" or "A an B."

(0083] in addition, where features or aspects of the disclosure am described in terms of Marknsh groups, those skilled in the art will recognize tha the disclosure is also thereby described in terms of any individual member or subgroup of members of the Markush group.

(0084] As will be understood by one skilled in the art, for any and all purposes, such as in terms of providing a written description, all ranges di sclosed herein also encompass any and all possible subranges and combinations of subranges thereof. Any listed range can be easily recognized as sufficiently describing and enabling the same range being broken down into at least equal halves, thirds, quarters, fifths, tenths, etc. As a non-limiting example, each range discussed herein can be readily broken down into a lower third, middle third and upper third, etc. As will also be understood by one skilled in the art all language such, as "up to," "at least," "greater than," "less than," and the like include the number recited and refer to ranges which can be subsequently broken down into subranges as discussed above. Finally, as will be understood by one skilled in the art, a range includes each individual member. Thus, for example, a group having .1 -3 cells refers to groups having 1, .2, or 3 cells. Similarly, a group having 1.-5 ceils refers to groups having: I ., 2, 3, 4, or 5 ceils, and so forth,

{0085} While various aspects and embodiments have been disclosed herein, other aspects and embodiments will be apparent to those skilled in the art. The various aspects and embodiments disclosed herein are for purposes of illustration and are not intended to be limiting, with the true scope and spirit being indicated by the following claims.