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Beamforming improves the angular resolution of PMUTs

Piezoelectric Micromachined Ultrasonic Transducers, or PMUTs, are a type of MEMS. The devices are currently plagued by an angular resolution in excess of 90° in some cases. 

Published on 25 November 2021

​CEA-Leti brought the figure down to 18° for the detection of an object placed 40 cm away from the device. Their solution consisted of a network of five PMUTs with specially developed components and a technique called beamforming. The devices used here have two layers of aluminum nitride, a piezoelectric material, so that beamforming can be used to leverage the interference between the PMUT measurements. The research won a Best Paper Award at Smart Systems Integration 2021. The system will be of use in human-machine interfaces, instrumentation for robots, and sensors for autonomous vehicles.

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