January 2008 Newsletter
Welcome to the Newsletter of MEMS@MIT
This publication is the fourth issue of a quarterly update of events and research activities undertaken by the MEMS@MIT Center.
This newsletter is intended to support the Center's key objectives of fostering expertise, providing education, facilitating networking, and expanding teaming opportunities on new research efforts for the MIT MEMS/NEMS community and the Center's Industrial partners. In part, these goals will be accomplished by keeping you informed of upcoming Center events, the latest Center faculty research highlights, MEMS/NEMS seminar streaming videos, and other special features. We will also feature other MEMS/NEMS related events (e.g. , seminars, conferences) and reference websites worth visiting.
We hope you find the newsletter informative and relevant.
The Fall Open House for MEMS @ MIT was held Oct. 24-25, 2007 on the MIT campus. This event was the third of what will be a twice-a-year event associated with the MEMS@MIT industrial consortium. The format of the open house includes a day-long symposium where participants engage in a detailed exploration of a specific topic related to MEMS. On the second day, the Industrial Advisors Board (IAB) of MEMS@MIT meets in a closed-door session to learn of the newest activities in the Center, to discuss new research initiatives, and to provide guidance to the Center faculty. We also use this meeting to discuss teaming opportunities between member companies and MIT investigators on new research efforts. We have also begun to incorporate the poster session into the IAB Meeting. The poster session offers a forum where all the investigators associated with MEMS@MIT present posters on their latest work, spanning the entire activities of the center including BioMEMS, Optical MEMS, Power MEMS, Sensors and Actuators, and MEMS technology.
This Fall's symposium was entitled "Emerging Trends in MEMS/NEMS Manufacturing. " The event featured the following presentations:
The slides for all presentations given at the symposium can be found on the members-only section of the MEMS@MIT website.
The IAB meeting was held the following morning. In this meeting, our industrial members heard about recent research activities from faculty in the Center.
During the late morning session, 2-minute focused presentations were given by each student/post-doctoral associate poster presenter. The meeting then temporarily adjourned to lunch and the poster session which included 10 posters on a wide range of topics.
The IAB meeting concluded with a detailed discussion of internal Center activities, planned new programs, and feedback from the Board. Slides for all of the presentations can be found on the members only section.
Professor Mehmet Fatih Yanik is an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and the newest faculty member of MEMS@MIT. Professor Yanik received the SB degrees in electrical engineering and physics from MIT in 1999 and the MEng in electrical engineering and computer science in 2000. Dr. Yanik then pursued doctoral research at Stanford University, receiving the PhD in applied physics in 2006. His main areas of research include the development and applications of technologies for studying cellular processes; the application of photonic nanostructures for bio-sensing, nano-manipulation, and bio-spectroscopy usage.
Professor Roger Kamm is a senior faculty member in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Biological Engineering and also joined the Center during the Fall. His research focuses on cell and molecular mechanics; microfluidic systems for angiogenesis, cell migration, and other tissue engineering applications.
Professor Evelyn Wang and Professor Rohit Karnik are among the newest faculty in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and joined the MEMS@MIT Center this past year.
Professor Wang came to MIT from Bell Laboratories (New Jersey) where she worked as a postdoctoral associate after completing her doctoral program in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University.
Professor Karnik earned his PhD at UC, Berkeley and was a postdoctoral associate in Professor Robert Langer's group prior to joining the MechE Department. His research focuses on microfluidics,nanofluidics, and BioMEMS.
We are pleased to announce the MNSS Spring 2008 schedule:
One of the highlights of the series is the seminar presented by the Senturia Prize winner in May. The Senturia Prize is awarded to a graduating Ph.D. student conducting research in the MEMS/NEMS field who has made substantial technical contributions to the field and to the research community in MEMS/NEMS at MIT. Past winners were Dr. Anastasios John Hart (2006) for his work on the synthesis of carbon nanotubes, and Dr. Jianping Fu (2007) for his work on nanofluidic devices for the rapid analysis of DNA and proteins.
Nominations are currently being accepted from students and faculty of the MEMS community. Please send all inquiries to senturia-prizeatmitdotedu.
All seminars are held on Thursday at 3pm in the RLE Conference Room, 36-428.
The MNSS is sponsored by the following:
Video archives of past MNSS presentations are available on the members-only section of the MEMS@MIT website. For more information on the MNSS series, please contact the MNSS Planning Committee: Professor Pat Doyle (ChemE) pdoyleatmitdotedu, Professor Carol Livermore (Mech E) livermoratmitdotedu, Professor Joel Voldman (RLE) voldmanatmitdotedu, or Anne Wasserman (MEMS@MIT) annewatmitdotedu or go to www.rle.mit.edu/mnss/.
Of Special Interest to the MEMS Community: MTL Seminar Series
The Spring Open House for MEMS@MIT has been set for April 22-23, 2008 and will be held at the MIT campus. Information on the Open House will be continuously updated at the following location: http://mtlweb.mit.edu/mems/news.html. This open house is for members of the MIT community as well as members of the industrial consortium. We invite companies that wish to seriously consider joining the Center to contact the Center Director, Martin Schmidt (email@example.com), to discuss your possible participation in this important event as a means to make an informed decision regarding whether Center membership makes sense for your company. This Spring's Open House will include a Symposium on MEMS for Implantable Medical Devices as well as briefings on several new research programs and a discussion of opportunities for research partnering that we see in the near term.
Dr. Hongshen (Hong) Ma was the second graduate to be honored to deliver the MTL Doctoral Dissertation Seminar, one of the highlights of the MTL Seminar Series. "The MTL Doctoral Dissertation Seminar is intended to recognize finishing or recently finished doctoral students within MTL who have done outstanding research, have a strong research vision, and have the presentation skill necessary to communicate that vision to a broad audience. Students are chosen based on a nominating letter from their advisors, which comments on the impact of the work and on the student's skill as a presenter, and also on a 200-word written statement from the student describing their research. " (Prof. Joel Dawson, Chair, MTL Seminar Series Committee.) For more information on the series, please go to: http://mtlweb.mit.edu/news/seminars/index.html.
Dr. Ma joined the MIT MEMS community as a graduate student under the direction of Professor Alex Slocum (in conjunction with Professor Jeff Lang) and continues as a post-doctoral associate in the Precision Engineering Research Group.
Dr. Ma responded generously to our request for the interview which follows.
(m@m)Could you give us some background on your previous degree work and share your impressions about those programs? What led you to the MEMS/NEMS area, particularly focusing on design?
(hm) My undergraduate degree was in Engineering Physics from the University of British Columbia. It's an engineering degree offered by the Physics department which allowed students to get the fundamentals of Physics while taking their specialization courses in an engineering department. In my case, the area of specialization was Electrical Engineering. I really liked this approach because it allowed me to see how fundamental ideas are translated into practical designs in engineering. This is probably where I decided to focus on design.
How have your interests evolved?
My interests have generally revolved around developing new measurement and sensing modalities. What has changed is my approach. When I first started, my view of MEMS/NEMS fabrication consisted entirely of things that you could do in a semiconductor fab. As my thesis evolved, I realized that many traditional manufacturing materials and processes (e.g. CNC machining, waterjetting, laser etching, PCB manufacturing) could be combined with tools in semiconductor manufacturing machines to fabricate devices in much simpler ways.
Have you had any mentors and/or role models in the field? What influence might one see of them in your work? How has their inspiration affected your work?
My main mentors have been my direct research supervisor, Prof. Alex Slocum, and Prof. Jeff Lang, who I worked closely with in the last couple of years. Alex is an endless source of new ideas and positive energy. At the same time, he stresses focus and cutting out the distractions. Jeff is wonderful to work with because of his humility and his ability to breakdown problems into bite-size portions. The combination of Alex and Jeff has been great for keeping my project on-track and moving forward.
Have you had the opportunity to mentor others? If so, could you describe such a situation and talk a little about what it meant (means) to you to mentor another person. What have you learned from your mentors about mentoring in this field?
I've had the fortune to work with a number of excellent UROPs and students in my class (2.996/6.971 Biomedical Devices Design). What I've learned about mentoring is that it is very important to stay positive and to be patient. When working together with someone, it is tempting to push your own ideas a little too much. This can be counterproductive in the long run as it is important to get buy-in from the person who you're mentoring on the project and allow them to come up with their own ideas.
What were your first impressions of MIT and how have they changed or been reinforced? your impressions of MEMS research and studies at MIT and the MEMS community?
MIT is a great place for tinkers and inventors and the MEMS community at MIT is wonderfully supportive. I love the three lab system (ICL-TRL-EML) where different levels of experimentation can go on. An important part of this mechanism is that the labs are supported by knowledgeable staff who will work through problems with you and are open to trying new ways of doing things. I don't think my thesis would have been possible without their help.
How do you keep your life balanced outside of the lab?
I try to keep life balanced outside of the lab by exercising daily and periodically taking holidays in adventurous places. Exercising allows me to stay healthy and release those endorphins at the end of the day. MIT has a 24/7 mentality and it is sometimes difficult to "disconnect". So, traveling to an adventurous place can be an intense experience that allows you to put aside the work for a while and come back with a fresh perspective. Since coming to MIT, I've been to Guatemala, Dominican Republic, and Morocco. This year, I spent my Christmas holidays camping with my parents in Hawaii.
What are your plans for the future? Any words of wisdom for undergrads considering this field?
I'm currently working as a postdoc to explore applications of my thesis as a chemical detection technology and particularly in detecting environmental contamination. I have also been teaching a class called 2.996/6.971 Biomedical Devices Design. This is a class I developed based on the format of Prof. Slocum's 2.75, which had partnered with the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology (CIMIT) to develop new medical devices. The instruction in 2.75 is primarily focused on mechanical design, while the instruction in my class focuses on electronic product design.
At the annual MicroTAS (uTAS) Conference held in Paris, France in October 2007, presentations representing the work of 11 Center faculty were featured.
Center faculty research presentations: (alphabetical order)
For more details on the October 2007 MicroTAS Conference, go to http://www.microtas2007.org/
We are proud to highlight the professional and academic achievements of the members of the MEMS Center. Please join us in congratulating the following: (alphabetical order by department)
Department of Biological Engineering
Department of Chemical Engineering
Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Department of Mathematics
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Look for our next newsletter in Spring 2008.