EECS Joint Colloquium

Wednesday, October 13, 1999

4:00-5:00 p.m.

Hewlett Packard Auditorium, 306 Soda Hall

Current Department Research Presentation Series

"MEMS/Robotics "and "Computational Science and Engineering (Applied to Plasmas)"

Profs. Kris Pister and C. K. Birdsall, EECS

Professor Kris Pister



MEMS research at Berkeley has included polysilicon surface micromachining, electrostatic microactuators, CMOS integration, 3-D micromachining, stiction control processes, planar microfluidics, optics, fiber switches, cubic millimeter displays, tunable circuit components, millimeter/microwave communications, drug delivery, chronic sensor implants, biomedicine, sensor networks, digital storage, CAD.

The robotics group is not trying to make or replace humans. Some of the directions our research has gone is telepresence (e.g., telesurgery, Personal Roving Presence), personal robots (companions and educational), and minaturization. Robotics has connections with control, medicine,AI, pyschology, sensing, MEMS, etc.

Professor C. K. Birdsall

Computational Science and Engineering (Applied to Plasmas)


Since 1967, the Plasma Theory and Simulation Group (PTSG) has been a pioneer in the application of computational science and engineering to many types of plasmas. Plasma, the fourth state of matter, is typically above 10,000 K (1 eV), where matter is readily ionized into electrons (hot) and ions (cool), with a cold neutral background gas. Examples of plasmas include fluorescent lamps, and discharges for processing of semiconductor chips (40% of the steps), both multi-billion dollar industries. Other examples include accelerators, microwave-beam sources, charged particle optics (e.g. lithography), and fusion reactors.

Plasmas tend to be electrically neutral, with a thin non-neutral sheath region near boundaries. The plasma can act as a resistor, conductor, capacitor, or inductor in various combinations. Plasmas have complex stability characteristics, can support waves, and can exhibit nonlinear effects.

PTSG often treats plasmas from a kinetic, first-principles perspective, preserving most of the basic physics. Analytic models, approximate computational models, and experiment provide guidance. The computations are performed using millions of particles, with electric and magnetic fields computed on spatial meshes in one, two, and three dimensions. The final key component is visualization of the results, which becomes increasingly challenging in three dimensions.

We seek additional students to join our 11-member research group. Support is presently at about $0.5M/year from 6 research contracts drawn from industry and government, for both basic and applied research. Examples of projects will be presented.