Robert Bruce Darling, Ph.D., P.E.
Sensory Neural Networks for Advanced Photodetectors (SNNAP)
Bulk Avalanche Semiconductor Switches (BASS)
Compact Modeling of Electrostatic Discharge Protection Systems (CMESD)
Micromachined Field Emission Arrays (MFEA)
Abstracts of Research Projects
The goal of this project is to develop compact physical models for integrable micromachined electromechanical elements which can be interconnected to represent the dynamic behavior of micromachined electromechanical sensors and actuators (MEMS) and then be directly used within circuit and system simulations. Because electromechanical sensors and actuators are found in a vast variety of different forms, a comprehensive model library is not possible. Instead, a library of component structures is being developed from which most microelectromechanical (MEMS) transducers can be assembled. This has involved detailed physical modeling of electromechanical components, their assembly into overall models for commercially available accelerometers and pressure sensors, and the development of a methodology for using these models within existing circuit and system simulators. Models have been developed for lumped, distributed, transduction, and parasitic microelectromechanical elements.
Lumped elements are the easiest to describe, and model templates for lumped mass, spring, and damping elements in both the mechanical and acoustical domains have been constructed. This work has largely been a modern re-adaptation of the electric circuit analogies that have long been used to describe electroacoustical systems.
Distributed elements are considerably more difficult to model. These involve a detailed physical description by partial differential equations that must be abstracted into a set of ordinary differential equations which are then implemented within a model template. From the given forces applied to a deformable element, the displacement anywhere along its extent should be determinable within the structure of the model. Many system variables, such as capacitance, or charge storage, require integration of the entire deflection profile. We have developed simple models for prismatic tethers with both ends fixed, and with one end fixed and the other free. These tethers are typical of the compliant suspensions that are used in polysilicon MEMS structures, e.g. in the MCNC MUMPS process. We have also developed models for rectangular cantilevers and fixed membranes of both rectangular and circular geometry. These models are valid only in the limit of small deflections, but still applicable to devices such as pressure sensors and galvanometers. Considerable effort has been spent in achieving a model for rectangular cantilevers that undergo large deflections. This is an extremely nonlinear problem that also has hysteresis and memory effects; however, it is key for being able to model MEMS actuators such as RF switches and other bistable elements.
Transduction elements couple the circuit variables from one domain to another. We have concentrated on the two most commonly used MEMS transducers: electrostatic and piezoresistive transducers. Electrostatic transducer models have been developed for simple parallel plates, plates that sandwich several intervening dielectric layers, and comb-drive actuators which are an interdigitated, linearly-responding device that is popular in polysilicon MEMS processes. Piezoresistive transducer models have been developed for simple two-terminal boron-implanted strain sensitive elements and also for the unique four-terminal piezoresistance sensor that Motorola uses in their MPX pressure sensor family. The electrostatic transducers are essential for modeling inertial sensors, such as the Analog Devices ADXL50 accelerometers, while the piezoresistive sensors are needed for pressure and strain sensors. Our electrostatic transducer models have been a great improvement over existing SPICE models because they are based upon conservation of energy and conservation of charge. The piezoresistance transducer models have also offered an improvement by taking into account the crystal anisotropy of silicon and the non-uniform strain field that exists within the extent of the transducer.
As microelectromechanical elements move, they displace the gas (usually air) that lies adjacent to their surfaces. This creates a variety of parasitic acoustic effects which must also be modeled in order for the system dynamics to be properly predicted. Air that is trapped between two moving plates creates an effect called compressible squeeze film damping, which has both compliant spring effects and viscous damping effects. We have spent considerable effort in creating a widely general model for squeeze film damping that treats the many various cases of plate geometry, motion, venting, and suspension. This model has been one of the key successes of this work to date. In addition, we have developed models for other parasitic acoustic effects which include acoustic radiation from a slot and acoustic drag and inertiance through a ventilation tube. We are currently finishing a model for damping in high-Q resonant beams which are doubly-supported structures in which the beam is under significant tension which increases its Q-factor and its resonant frequency.
Images Return to Contents
The objectives of the proposed project are to: (1) develop layer-based simulation models for primitive microsystem elements, (2) develop standardized device equations for these models, (3) collect these device models into a coordinated and self-consistent library suitable for design automation environments, (4) develop a methodology for converting distributed PDE systems into equivalent lumped ODE systems with specific connectivity handles, and (5) develop a methodology for fracturing or partitioning a set of physical design (layout) layers into an appropriate set of simulation layers.
Integrated microsystems pose difficult challenges for circuit and system simulation as a result of tightly interacting and nonlinear device elements which usually span several different physical domains (electrical, mechanical, thermal, & optical). The technological challenge of this project is to develop a generic layer-based framework for microsystem simulation, capitalizing upon the existing structured VLSI design framework and its associated software tools, and which can support numerically efficient compact device models that are compatible with electronic design automation.
The proposed project draws upon compact device modeling that has been supported by CDADIC over the last 3 years. This work has developed a library of compact models for monolithically integrated micromachined MEMS structures, mainly applicable to pressure and inertial sensors. The proposed work will extend this concept to more generic integrated microsystems which will include electromechanical, electrothermal, and electrooptic couplings, and will provide a structured basis through which new device models can be readily developed and incorporated into microsystem design.
This project involves collaboration between the University of Washington, Analogy, Inc., and Microcosm Technologies, Inc. Two Ph.D. students at the University of Washington will be supported by this project, who will also intern during the Summers at Microcosm Technologies. There, they will work on methods for implementing compact microsystem models for use with Analogys Saber simulator. Both Analogy and Microcosm Technologies will provide software support and a commercialization pathway for the results of this project. The development of compact models for use in microsystem design will encourage standardization, validation, and model accuracy performance measures to emerge which will support the growing field of integrated sensors, transducers, MEMS, and microanalytical systems. The proposed work will directly create new markets for Analogy and Microcosm.
Images Return to Contents
The long-term goal of this work is to develop technology and prototype systems for applying microelectrode arrays to multi-component chemical analysis and process control. The objectives of the proposed work for 1997-98 are to develop devices which can introduce a microelectrode array directly into a flow stream. The flow stream could be a multi-component mixture which is part of an industrial process, or part of a more specialized analysis loop, for example, a chromatography or electrophoresis column. Three different styles of devices will be developed which combine our existing microelectrode fabrication technology with miniature plumbing hardware. (1) A new annular geometry for our existing microband electrodes will be developed which can be integrated with standard small-bore tubing connectors, either Swagelocks or HPLC fittings. (2) Our existing process for making microfluidic channels in silicon will be further developed to include an integrated strip microelectrode. (3) A flow cell design will be developed for a microelectrode array which can be used with the existing CPAC flowprobe technology and utilize new advances in semipermeable membrane technology for increasing chemical specificity and preconcentration.
Each of the three analytical modalities mentioned above: small-bore tubing, microfluidic channels, and flow injection systems; are situations where electrochemical techniques can be advantageously employed for quantitative and qualitative chemical analysis. Because the output of these sensors is already in the electrical domain, they are ideally suited for in-line, closed-loop electronic process control. Furthermore, the small size of microelectrodes makes them inherently compatible with integration into these small-sized channeled fluid flow systems. All of the advantages normally associated with microelectrodes as dip-style immersion probes also carry over to continuous contact fluidic channels. These include: predictable diffusion-limited transport, rapid equilibration and response time, detection sensitivities into the low ppb range for several different voltammetric techniques, excellent repeatability and stability, and required sample volumes into the nanoliter range. Lastly, microelectrode sensors are in general capable of being manufactured at large volumes and at low unit cost by using batch fabrication processes derived from the semiconductor integrated circuit industry.
CPAC funded research on integrated microelectrodes has been on-going for the past three years. During this time, our laboratory group has developed all of the key elements for fabricating robust microelectrodes that are suitable for dip-style immersion probes. These systems have so far been oriented primarily for environmental monitoring applications.
We have developed techniques for integrating microelectrodes directly with commercially manufactured CMOS integrated circuits, and with custom designed silicon wafer processes. We have developed a new style of microelectrode, termed a microband, which offers significant improvements over existing microelectrode styles. The microband electrode array is fabricated on the edge of a substrate using conventional thin-film deposition and patterning techniques. Conventional microelectrodes are constructed on the surface of the substrate. The edge construction of the microband allows a large degree of polishing, wear, or erosion of the metal surface, which greatly increases its immunity to fouling and makes it much less fragile than a conventional microelectrode. The microband electrodes have so far been made using Pt, Au, and Ag as the working electrodes, and these have been able to provide detection sensitivities down into the 10-50 ppb range for common metal cations such as Cu, Pb, Zn, Hg, and Sb in aqueous solutions.
A robust solid-state reference electrode has also been developed using thin film deposition of Ag/AgCl with an encapsulating layer of porous Si3N4. Both the microband electrode arrays and the solid-state reference electrode have been integrated into a combination electrode suitable for heavy metal analysis of drinking water, waste water, or natural fresh waters.
Support electronics for the microelectrodes has also been developed by our laboratory group. We have developed several microprocessor controlled electronics modules for interfacing the microelectrode array directly to a computer. One module contains a sensitive electrometer front end amplifier, a built-in potentiostat for controlling an auxillary electrode, analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters for the scanning circuits, and on-board memory for storing the results of a given voltammetric scan. The firmware that runs the on-chip microprocessor has been set up to directly implement anodic stripping voltammetry and cyclic voltammetry waveforms. One system based on the Motorola HC11 microprocessor has already been developed into a complete working prototype of a down-hole well probe, that in collaboration with Stanford University and Tufts University was used to successfully assay contaminated well water. Another system is under development using the more advanced Microchip PIC16C74 microcontroller and will be used in the analysis of soils and sediments and for Hg detection.
Images Return to Contents
This project is to develop a miniaturized Faraday cup array using micromachining techniques which will be interfaced with an existing confocal plane mass spectrometer. Deep etched trench capacitor structures are already widely used in the microelectronics industry, and we plan to adapt this technology to the fabrication of the Faraday cup array. The use of an array detector will enable fully multichannel mass spectroscopy, which has advantages over conventional time multiplexed (scanned) systems in process control and in-line measurement systems. A position sensitive ion detector will be developed in the form of an array of micromachined Faraday cups. Initial development of this technology will focus on integration the necessary process steps to fabricate the detector array and will be followed up by testing of the array to establish its operating parameters and the viability of the approach.
Fabrication of the micromachined Faraday cup array (MFCA) involves four major steps: (1) deep etching of vertical sidewall trenches into a silicon substrate, (2) conformal oxidation of the silicon surfaces, (3) conformal deposition of the cup conductor, and (4) patterning of the cup conductor material to form isolated electrodes. Each of these steps can be performed in several different ways, and the principal goal of this research is to determine the best combination of processing steps which lead to a maximally robust design with commercially viable costs.
After suitable choices of the above process alternatives have been made based upon experimental testing, the overall MFCA will be fabricated and tested to ascertain its basic performance parameters. The critical issues for most applications will be the range of dimensions for which the cells can be fabricated: both depth and pitch, the allowable operating temperature range, backscatter and secondary electron yields as a function of cup potential, and any possible degradation mechanisms which would limit the device lifetime.
Images Return to Contents
There exists an increasing need for miniaturized chemical analysis systems for applications in health care diagnostics, chemical process instrumentation and control, environmental monitoring, drug discovery, and clinical research. Microfluidic systems offer the most promising route to achieving many of the needed system functions; however, there is yet no easy interface between the microfluidic domain and the well-developed world of electronics. Modern integrated electronics is a necessary component of any analytical instrument to provide signal conditioning, data storage, compression, computation, transmission, and interface to the human operator. The most direct interface between the microfluidic domain and the electronic domain is through microelectrodes which respond directly to electron transfer processes at their solution interface. Furthermore, microelectrodes are readily capable of being miniaturized, in fact, they obtain their desirable properties from being miniaturized. Electrodes have been used in numerous applications with channeled flow streams, but thus far, both the electrodes and the channels have been too large and of uncontrolled geometry to be useful for quantitative chemical analyses.
We are developing two simple and reliable microfabrication processes for integrating microelectrodes inside microchannels to address this issue. This will provide a straightforward and predictable interface between the electronic and microfluidic domains, making possible the further miniaturization of many chemical analysis instruments based upon chromatography, electrophoresis, or flow injection analysis. More importantly, though, the integration of precisely defined microelectrodes and microfluidic channels opens up an entirely new domain of electrochemical and microfluidic functions that have no larger scale counterpart. These are based upon the laminar flow properties associated with low Reynolds number microchannel flow, the channel dimensions becoming comparable to ionic diffusion lengths, and the electrokinetic interactions of microelectrodes with laminar sheath flow over their surfaces. After developing the fabrication processes for integrating microelectrodes and microchannels, we will develop a number of microfluidic devices which make use of these unique interactions to produce wholly new analytical functions. These include: (1) a device for performing low-level stripping voltammetry within a flowing microchannel stream, (2) a device for combining the molecular weight selectivity of diffusional transport with the redox selectivity of the microelectrode to increase the overall quantitative detection selectivity, (3) a device for performing in-stream conductivity measurements using pairs of microelectrodes, (4) a device for creating an anti-fouling sheath flow over the microelectrode surface, and (5) a device for performing transverse channel electrophoresis between two adjacent flow streams. All of these proposed devices are based upon the same microelectrode and microchannel structure, but will be optimized differently to enhance the above specific functions.
This work draws together two existing programs at the University of Washington: Prof. Paul Yagers work on microfluidic separations and extractions, and Prof. Bruce Darlings work on integrated microelectrode arrays. Micronics Inc., which has invested heavily in Prof. Yagers development of microfluidic diagnostics, has expressed an interest in this work.
Images Return to Contents
The measurement of proximal airway flow, volume and pressure (spirometry) has been shown to provide valuable diagnostic and risk management benefits for the critically monitored patient. Most of the present airway flow monitoring techniques utilize a variable or fixed orifice differential pressure pneumotachometer. These systems presently require that the very small differential pressure generated at the airway orifice be transmitted to a remote transducer and valve system located eight or more feet away from the patients airway. The transmission of this small, high frequency pressure signal through a flexible pneumatic transmission line results in compromised performance, higher cost, and user complexity.
MEMS technology is particularly well suited for medical spirometry because of the availability of high sensitivity, stable differential pressure transducers and micro-pneumatic valves. MEMS packaging technology can also provide the micro-pneumatic manifold assemblies and interconnections and the means for electronic interconnection so that the entire remote transducer assembly can be small enough to reside directly on the patient airway, thus eliminating the many problems associated with the long pneumatic lines. Pre-packaged pressure transducers and micro-valves could be interconnected with standard flexible pneumatic lines in order to functionally accomplish this task; however, the resultant assembly would not be small enough or cost effective for an on-airway application.
We are developing a on-airway medical flow and pressure sensor using MEMS-based packaging technology. A micromachined silicon chip will provide the pneumatic channels and electrical interconnections for commercially available pressure sensor and microvalve die which will be bonded on to it. The integrated packaging of the pressure sensors and valves will allow the entire sensor assembly to be placed directly on the airway, eliminating the long pneumatic coupling tubing, and allowing much higher dynamic range and fidelity of the small pressure signals. Many of the acoustic artifacts of the coupling tubing will also be eliminated. The basic packaging integration of the pressure sensors and microvalves will be undertaken in the first six months of the work plan, and during the second six months, temperature control will be added to improve thermal stability and condensation effects, as well as incorporating other design issues including adapter interface, patient isolation, and data acquisition.
Applications for this device include improved diagnostic information and risk management for the critically monitored patient. This can lead to better patient care and potentially reduce the length of stay and the cost of such care. When combined with airway gas analysis, additional diagnostic parameters can be derived, including the non-invasive measurement of cardiac output.
Images Return to Contents
The goal of this program is to develop a rapid pathogen detection system with single cell detection sensitivity and assay times of less than one hour. Fully electronic conductivity imaging of the filter media will replace traditional optical microscopy, greatly reducing cost and operator training. The final system will be developed for the food and beverage industry to monitor the safety of these products. The program is divided into two phases. In phase I the detector array design, electronic signal analysis approach, and assay sensitivity will be established using a model system. In phase II, a prototype instrument integrating the detection array, drive electronics, and software will be built and tested with microorganisms.
Images Return to Contents
This research program applies high-voltage/high-resolution focused ion beam lithography to micromachined sensors and high-density microelectronics. The objectives of this program are to: (1) introduce focused ion beam lithography techniques into the mainstream of microsensor fabrication processes, (2) develop and carefully characterize analytical process models for focused ion beam exposure and development in practical organic and inorganic resist systems, (3) quantify the electronic damage produced by proton and heavy ion lithography, and (4) develop several novel microfabricated devices which make use of the unique lithographic capabilities of focused ion beams.
Micromachined sensors and actuators have now become common commercially available components with examples being pressure sensors, inertial sensors, ink-jet print heads, and magnetic disk drive heads. An increasing number of devices, including micromachined mechanical resonators, RF micromechanical switches, diffractive micro-optics, nanoelectrodes for electrochemical sensing, microfluidic devices, and biomolecular filters, as well as advanced, high-density transistor structures are benefiting from MEMS-style microfabrication techniques. This second generation of MEMS devices has the potential for dramatic improvements in mobile communication systems, miniaturized and distributed chemical and biochemical analysis systems, and in environmental, clinical, military, and laboratory sensing applications. Commercialization of these technologies presently hinges upon the ability to pattern the necessary fine linewidths, to achieve fabrication repeatability, and the ability to electrically and mechanically adjust the structures after fabrication. Ion beam lithography has great potential to resolve these manufacturing issues. Since the fraction of the wafer area which would require ion beam exposure is very small, the economics of a serial, direct-write process technology such as focused ion beam lithography (FIBL) proves quite favorable for these applications which have very high added value in proportion to their writing time.
The proposed research program builds heavily upon the University of Washingtons existing expertise in the areas of chemical sensors, microfluidics, microanalytical systems, surface science, and novel microlithography as used in MEMS and other microfabrication disciplines. This research program will also involve close collaboration with two key company partners who also have expertise in ion beam lithography. EDTEK, Inc., located in Kent, WA, has been developing an in-house capability for masked ion beam lithography (MIBL) using a 100 keV He+ source. In collaboration with EDTEK, MIBL stencil mask making and repair will be examined using the proposed FIBL system. The EDTEK MIBL capability will also be used to characterize several practical organic photoresist systems as part of the process modeling effort. Micron Technology, Inc., located in Boise, ID, is the singular leading domestic producer of DRAMs in the United States, and has keen interest in ion beam lithography for maintaining its leading technological position. We will collaborate with Micron Technology in a set of experiments designed to quantify the extent of electronic surface and subsurface damage produced by various ion lithography methods. This information is critical to assessing the applicability of ion beam lithography methods to the production of high density volatile and non-volatile memories, as well as high-density logic and signal processing circuits.
Images Return to Contents
Microfabrication of MEMS structures in the WTC MicroFabrication Laboratory (WTC-MFL), and on the UoW campus as a whole, has been presently limited to wet chemical etching, mainly anisotropic etching of silicon. Chemically selective wet etching is limited in its ability to handle other materials that are important for microfluidics, microoptics, and other traditional electromechanical MEMS devices. It is also limited in the degree of process control that can be obtained in terms of linewidth, feature geometry, and surface morphology, all of which are critically needed for advanced MEMS devices that will become important in the medical, biotechnology, telecommunications, and environmental sensing fields. Advanced MEMS structures also require trimming to adjust their functional performance for demanding applications. Conventional laser trimming is not able to accomplish this task.
Ion beam milling is a well-developed microfabrication process that offers solutions to the above problem. Ion milling is a high vacuum process which makes it inherently less prone to particle contamination and chemical residues than wet etching. It also produces features which are nearly identical to the drawn mask design, eliminating the lateral undercut that occurs with etch chemical processing.
A Veeco ME601 ion mill presently exists in the WTC-MFL, but it has not been facilitized or set up, and the knowledge of its capabilities is not well known by the WTC user community. A state-of-the-art Nanofab 150II focused ion beam tool will also be located in WTC by June, 1999 as part of a research program of Prof. Darling. This system offers exceptional versatility in direct write ion processing and lithography with patterning resolution down to 50 nm. A small investment in set up and process development will allow both of these systems to become operational and useful for the more demanding MEMS devices that future projects and WTC-MFL users will need.
To keep the proposed work focused on commercially relevant objectives and processes, Microvision will team with the UoW researchers to develop FIB trimming techniques that are immediately applicable to their advanced microoptical structures. Microvision will provide test devices and will work with the UoW team to develop specific trimming strategies. Microvision will also provide testing of the devices to quantify the performance improvements.
Images Return to Contents
Smart pixels with smart illumination (SPSI) is a new approach to image sensor and processing. The SPSI concept, recently proposed by Prof. Babbitt of Montana State University and Prof. Darling of the University of Washington, involves the dynamic control of the spatial and temporal illumination of an object via feedback from the detected image. The optical design of a SPSI sensor enables the light from an array of smart emitters that scatters off a remote object to be optically coupled back to an array of smart photodetectors, even if the emitters and detectors are spatially and electronically integrated. Integrated emitters and detectors enable dynamic and efficient illumination and sensing off remote objects on a pixel by pixel basis, leading to enhanced image processing capabilities and some radically new sensor designs. Some of the potential SPSI applications in sensor array technology include edge detection; dynamic spotlight tracking system; a tracking sensor that monitors focus, translation, and rotation of a scribe line; winner-take-all neural networks that highlights the "winning" pixel; precise tracking of fluorescent objects; intensity compression algorithms; tracking, differential sensing, and error correction in page oriented memory and processing systems; pixel by pixel background subtraction; and ranging.
The overall objective of the proposed program is the development of the SPSI concept and its potential applications from their embryonic stage to well defined and practical sensor systems. The research objectives of the proposed program are to: (1) formalize the design of proposed SPSI applications, (2) model their performance, (3) design and fabricate the electronic and optical elements needed for SPSI, (4) demonstrate those implementations with the most promising attributes, and (5) map out a plan for future development of the SPSI concept.
The proposed program benefits greatly from the acceptance of the SPSI concept for participation in the VCSEL Foundry Service, which supplies at no cost an integrated VCSEL/MSM array, a custom CMOS processing chip, a custom diffractive optical element, and a custom lenslet array. The initial research effort will focus on the design and utilization of these elements, building on our initial results with integrated LEDs and MSM detectors, which demonstrated the core SPSI optical and electronic feedback mechanisms. New electronic and optical devices will be designed, fabricated, and incorporated as the program procedes.
Images Return to Contents
Microtechnology is a rapidly expanding field that is growing from its roots in integrated circuit fabrication to a broad array of applications that range from biotechnology to high-density microfabrication. The University of Washington has important research initiatives in this area, and we seek to become a leader also in microtechnology education at the undergraduate and graduate levels. This proposal addresses this important field of microtechnology by providing students with opportunities for education and hands-on experience in subjects that define the broad microprocessing technology area.
The goal of this program is to introduce and develop a range of microtechnology courses from basic science to applications, including laboratory and research opportunities for students, beginning in the sophomore year and extending through graduate research. This will be accomplished by introducing students to the multi-disciplinary breadth of microtechnological theory and application using a new set of courses:
These courses will be accompanied by a full range of research opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students in the area of microtechnology, from MEMS to advanced microprocessor research.
This program is prompted by the explosion in interest and application in areas such as MEMS and semiconductor device systems which are based on silicon technology. At present, a variety of research programs and several courses related to this general area are available in the departments of Electrical Engineering (EE), Bioengineering (BioE), Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), Chemical Engineering (ChE) and others. However, there is now little coordination between these courses and introductory courses for young students are non-existent.
This proposal is aimed at providing the course support needed for the students interested in this area, many of whom work on small or large research programs that have been developed recently, and who will be employed in the numerous companies in the region who need trained engineers to support their advanced microtechnology needs. In the College of Engineering, the Center for Applied Microtechnology (CAM) is a new concept developed to enhance and provide a coordinating group for research and education in this area. Related programs in Bioengineering and Electrical Engineering provide focus and facilities for research in microtechnology and an NSF-sponsored curriculum development program between ME, MSE, and EE is developing courses in the area of electronic packaging and materials. This current proposal, based in CAM, will provide the coordinated curriculum that will enhance student learning and experience in this field.
The overall outcomes that are expected from this program include a fully upgraded educational program for undergraduate and graduate students who will be prepared for industrial employment and/or for graduate study in the rapidly advancing microtechnology area. In addition, it is expected that a variety of new ideas and techniques will move from the research laboratory into the classroom as a result of this program. Accompanying this will be enhanced faculty interaction among one another in the departments involved, broader faculty interaction with industry, added research opportunities in both practical systems and in new process development, and greater opportunities for graduate research in advanced technology.
Images Return to Contents
The University of Washington is beginning a process of realigning its educational and research programs to address a cluster of related technologies that will dominate industrial growth in the next century. We name this diverse cluster of engineering and scientific sub-disciplines "microtechnology," in that they share a focus on the manipulation of matter at the micrometer scale. This new discipline of microtechnology embraces both the existing microelectronics industry and exciting emerging research and development fields such as microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). The opportunity for UW to take up a leadership role in this field is driven by recent increases in electronics and semiconductor industries in Washington State and by dramatic research breakthroughs in the application of MEMS-based technologies to biology, chemistry and medicine.
Through seed funding from the College of Engineering at UW we have established the Center for Applied Microtechnology (CAM). It is planned as a permanent entity that will strive to accomplish the goals of the UW and of its vital partner, the Washington Technology Center (WTC). It has a four-fold mission: (1) to provide flexible and pertinent education for the growing microtechnology workforce of Washington State; (2) to provide support for cutting edge microtechnology-based research at the UW; (3) to promote new and support existing Washington State microtechnology-based industry; and (4) to become a national resource for the application of microtechnologies to meet scientific and technical challenges. These mission goals will be met using both traditional and non-traditional means of education, continuing education, and industrial partnering. CAM's four-fold mission reflects the central role of educational institutions in a time of rapidly evolving technology.
CAM is initially headed by co-directors Paul Yager and R. Bruce Darling. Directors serve for finite terms and are appointed by the Deans of Engineering, Medicine, and Arts and Sciences. The co-directors oversee the operations of CAM, coordinate the changes in the educational programs suggested, and act as the interface between the program and the industrial community. The offices for CAM are sited in Fluke Hall on the UW campus. Administrative decisions are made in consultation with a managing board chosen from the participating personnel and industrial representatives.
In the period leading up to the Fall 1998 academic quarter, CAM will focus on the following tasks: (1) Establish and advertise an infrastructure that will create a dialog with all regional industrial clients of microtechnology education. CAM will set up a WWW site, telephone access, and send out informational mailings on CAM strategy and upcoming events. (2) Establish a regular seminar series of internal and external speakers of national stature in the microtechnology area. The announcements of these seminars will be made accessible both on and off campus via the web and e-mail. (3) Conduct minisymposia with industrial and academic participants aimed at updating the UW curriculum for microtechnological education. The microtechnology employers of our students will be at the center of the upcoming curriculum revision process. (4) Enhancing the MEMS research infrastructure through the acquisition of equipment in the WTC microfabrication facility. UW and federal resources will be used, and plans will be made for future equipment acquisitions. (5) Establishing CAM as a resource for industrial and academic microtechnology research. A primary activity will be establishing a student-staffed consulting service that will help corporate and academic clients to find solutions to microtechnological problems.
Images Return to Contents