EECS Joint Colloquium Distinguished Lecture Series

Wednesday, April 02, 2003
Hewlett Packard Auditorium, 306 Soda Hall
4:00-5:00 p.m.

Professor Roger Howe

Associate Chairman, EECS Department
University of California, Berkeley


Will MEMS Ever Really Matter to the Semiconductor Industry?




This talk will begin with the vision of the 1980s that silicon planar IC technology would revolutionize sensors, actuators, and embedded computing. The present MEMS industry has only partially fulfilled this promise: MEMS continues to be a fringe technology for the semiconductor industry. However, the nature of computing and communications is undergoing a major shift toward ubiquitous wireless networks consisting of autonomous sensors or passive RF tags. Energy is a very scarce resource for these untethered microsystems; this fact is motivating designers to consider solutions outside the domain of purely electronic communications and computation. To take advantage of MEMS in low-cost, high-volume microsystems, they must be integrated on top of foundry CMOS. Over the past several years, a low-temperature modular process for post-CMOS fabrication of poly-SiGe microstructures has been demonstrated at Berkeley. After reviewing progress in this techonology, the talk will conclude with an assessment of the future of MEMS in the core of information technology.


Roger Howe received his Masters and Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 1981 and 1984 respectively. His research interests include micro electromechanical system (MEMS) design, micromachining processes, and parallel assembly processes. A focus of his research has been processes to fabricate integrated microsystems, which incorporate both silicon integrated circuits and MEMS. His major accomplishments include polysilicon surface micromachining technology (with Prof. R. S. Muller), electrostatic actuator design (including the electrostatic comb drive, with his graduate student W. C. Tang), surface micromachined accelerometer and gyroscope design (with Profs. B. Boser and A. Pisano), micromechanical resonators for oscillators, bandpass filters, and mixing (with his graduate student C. Nguyen), anti-stiction processes (with Prof. R. Maboudian), parallel assembly processes, including self-assembly using hydrophobic forces, and poly-silicon-germanium low-temperature MEMS processes (with Prof. T.-J. King). He became a Professor in the EECS Department at UC Berkeley in 1987 and associate chairman of the Electrical Engineering Division of UC Berkeley in 2002. He is also serving as Director of the Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center (BSAC) in Berkeley.