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A team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have collaborated to develop a Piezoelectric MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical System) technology sensor for underwater communications, with potential benefits for defence applications, particularly in the naval forces.

According to the Director of DRDO Industry Academia- Ramanujan Centre of Excellence (DIA-RCoE) at IIT Madras, Dr O.R. Nandagopan, this technology has reached a level of maturity that allows for its conversion into a system with the help of Indian industry. He further added that it will be a groundbreaking technology in this field, contributing towards India’s ‘Aatma Nirbhar Bharat’ initiative in underwater materials and micro device processing technology.

Piezo MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical System) process technology involves the fabrication of devices that use the piezoelectric effect to sense or generate electrical charges. The piezoelectric effect is the ability of certain materials, such as quartz or ceramics, to produce an electrical charge in response to mechanical stress, or vice versa.

In the context of underwater communications and sensing, piezo MEMS technology is used to create high-performance thin films that can be used to build sophisticated and futuristic naval sensors and equipment. These sensors can be used to detect sound waves or vibrations in water, allowing for underwater communication and surveillance.

The process of creating piezo MEMS devices involves depositing thin films of piezoelectric material on a substrate, typically using a process such as sputtering or chemical vapour deposition. These thin films can then be patterned and etched to create the desired sensor or device. The most significant challenge in the Piezo MEMS process technology is ensuring excellent dependability and durability in the hostile underwater environment, due to the high pressure and corrosive characteristics of seawater.

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