Harnett Lab

At the Harnett lab in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, we use micro- and nanofabrication to create three-dimensional sensors and actuators with applications in microfluidics, biotechnology and environmental research.

Overall objectives:

  • Explore flexible structures with more than one stable shape for ultra-low-power actuation and sensing.
  • Apply compliant microstructures to new electrode geometries in microfluidic lab-on-a-chip systems.

Core research facilities:This 600 sq. ft. laboratory has specialized equipment for printing (Dimatix DMP-2831 materials printer), cutting (Epilog Mini 30-watt laser cutter), and casting and bonding polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) silicone rubber micromolded parts, including a 30W Harrick plasma cleaner. Pressurized gas flows are computer controlled by precision electronic pressure regulators (Marsh-Bellofram). Video fluorescence microscopy is available on an Olympus IX-71 inverted microscope and a BX-51 noninverted microscope with digital video cameras. Electrical signals are conditioned with SR830 and SR844 lock-in amplifiers. There is a high temperature furnace, fume hood, 4 W infrared laser, and equipment for electronics assembly. The lab also has an Impinj Speedway RFID reader, antenna and software for wirelessly interrogating sensors, and a set of 30 wireless sensor nodes for environmental research.

Core scientific and technical staff: The staff includes the following:

  • Dr. C. K. Harnett

Center budgets and funding:

  • Baseline budget: $200,000

Goal: The Lab’s goal is to generate ultra-low power sensors and actuators that require no onboard energy source to expand human capabilities. Applications range from environmental sensor networks to assistive medical devices that help stabilize injured tissue or teach new physical skills. Research focuses on fundamentals and engineering of discrete components such as flexible contact sensors that can be put to work in larger systems.

Outreach and community engagement activities:

Recent outreach includes the Trilife learn-to-solder project: http://blipworks.github.io/trilife/

Research Productivity:

Lab members have produced more than 50 research contributions, including journal articles, archived conference proceedings, and presentations.

For more information: Detailed information on the lab’s research themes, industry partnership activities, personnel, facilities, publications, outreach, educational workshops and conferences, and much more can be found online. Contact Dr. Harnett via email at c0harn01@louisville.edu or by phone at 502/852-0689.

Location: 221 Shumaker Research Building