Physical and Computational Aspects of MEMS and Microassembly
Speaker:Prof. Karl Boringer, Professor, Electrical Engineering and Bioengineering
University of Washington, Seattle
Date & Time:26 Mar 2014 (Wednesday) 15:30 - 16:30
Organized by:Department of Electromechanical Engineering


Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) are tiny machines built with technology derived from the semiconductor industry. Unlike microelectronics, MEMS interact with the physical world in a multitude of ways. Over the past decades, MEMS have gradually become ubiquitous in our everyday lives, for example in automotive pressure sensors, airbag triggers, accelerometers in smartphones or disposable biomedical devices. Beyond homogeneous electronics whose only purpose is computation, there is thus a growing demand for heterogeneous microsystems that integrate sensing, actuation, computation and communication into a single package. This demand drives the development of cost-effective assembly methods for handling very large numbers of very small components. We argue that self-assembly - the autonomous and spontaneous organization of components into patterns and structures - compares favorably to robotic pick-and-place methods for heterogeneous microsystems. We will present several self-assembly methods and discuss their design and performance characteristics.


Karl Böringer is Professor of Electrical Engineering and Bioengineering at the University of Washington, Seattle and Faculty Director of the Washington Nanofabrication Facility and Site Director for the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN). He received both his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from Cornell University and his Diplom-Informatiker degree from the University of Karlsruhe, Germany. He was a visiting scholar at the Stanford Robotics Lab and Transducer Lab and a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, before joining the faculty at the University of Washington. He received an NSF postdoctoral associateship in 1997 and an NSF CAREER award in 1999. His work was featured among the Top 100 Science Stories in Discover Magazine's 2002 "Year in Science". In 2004, he received the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Academic Early Career Award and a sabbatical fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). Since 2010, he holds the John M. Fluke Distinguished Chair in Engineering at the University of Washington. He is a member of the editorial board of the ASME/IEEE Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems and the IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering. He was general co-chair of the 2011 IEEE International Conference on Microelectromechanical Systems.