University of Utah electrical and computer engineering undergraduate student Sang Truong was selected to present his research at MEMS 2020, the 33rd IEEE International Conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems, in Vancouver, British Columbia. The conference will be held Jan. 18 to 22.

Earlier this year, U electrical and computer engineering professor Hanseup Kim’s research group received a $2.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, ARPAE, for the design and construction of a chemical sensor that will aid in the production of biomass from corn, which is used to create ethanol for gasoline. With this funding, a nanogap sensor has been created to detect when a plant is being attacked by insects or overwhelmed by weeds. Truong has recently developed a low-power analog circuit to provide an eight-month-long life for the sensor.

For the past two semesters, Truong has been conducting research, under the guidance of Kim, researcher Kyeong Heon Kim, and doctoral student Shakir-ul Haque Khan, in designing and implementing a low-power wake-up electrical circuit. The circuit enables a nearly-zero-power-consuming sensor node for a distributed sensor network. This circuit consumes an average power of 155.1µW with a life of eight months when using a tiny battery that stores 3,874J of energy.

Truong is grateful for the University of Utah’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) for funding his research as well as support from Kim’s ARPAE funding. MEMS conferences accept only 10% to 40% of all the submitted research abstracts from around the world.