Carnegie Mellon University

Micro and Nano Systems Laboratory

College of Engineering

Ultrasonic Communication and Powering

There are 50 billion sensors deployed in the environment and this number is projected to grow to 1 trillion during the next decade. As this number increases, the sensors need to become smaller, more power efficient, and capable of communicating with each other. We are looking into ultrasound to enable communication between tiny IoT nodes, as well as transfer energy to power up their electronics. This is made possible by piezoelectric nanoscale ultrasound transducers (pNUTS), a new class of ultrasound transducers characterized by aggressively scaled dimensions as well as low frequency of operation (40-100 kHz), where long-distance communication is possible. Although extremely small, pNUTs can efficiently convert acoustic waves into readable electrical signals.