Important Dates
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General Information

The main goal of the Workshop is to examine scientific and technological issues that pertain to the use of micro- and nano- electromechanical systems (MEMS and NEMS), devices and technologies in next generation commercial and defense-related application. We will focus on fundamental aspects of such systems as well as advanced materials and technologies that will enable progress in this field in the near future.

The past decade has seen unprecedented technology developments in the area of MEMS & NEMS. Currently the MEMS/NEMS worldwide market accounts for approximately $7B in revenue and is projected to grow at an ~ 25% annual rate. Numerous concepts have been identified and investigated in detail. The transition of significant advances in this promising technology area from the conceptual phase into commercial and defense-related products, however, has been somewhat slow, especially in the 90s. To large extent, this was due to the lack of systematic fundamental research of MEMS/NEMS science and technology problem areas where advanced basic knowledge may be able to make a real difference in further advancing micro/nano technology and facilitating its great potential to enhance future commercial and defense capabilities.

In terms of applications, micro- and nano-electromechanical systems represent rather broad and diverse technological areas, such as optical systems (micromirrors, waveguides, optical sensors, integrated subsystems), life sciences and lab equipment (micropumps, membranes, lab-on-chip, membranes, microfluidics), sensors (bio-sensors, chemical sensors, gas-phase sensors, sensors integrated with electronics) and RF applications for signal transmission (variable capacitors, tunable filters and antennas, switches, resonators). From the scientific viewpoint, this is a very multi-disciplinary field, including micro- and nano-mechanics (such as stresses in structural materials), electronic effects (e.g. charge transfer), general electrostatics, materials science, surface chemistry, interface science, (nano)tribology and optics. It is obvious that in order to overcome the problems surrounding next-generation MEMS/NEMS devices and applications it is necessary to tackle them from different angles, theoretical chemists need to speak with mechanical engineers, and device engineers and modelers to listen to surface physicists. It is therefore one of the main objectives of the workshop to bring together a multidisciplinary team of distinguished researchers. The problems are complex and demand a broad and integrated vision.

One of the key obstacles for MEMS/NEMS rapid development and commercialization is the lack of solid knowledge of fundamental issues. There are already successful products and promising prototypes but the progress would have been more substantial if the basic foundations had developed earlier. Some key priority science areas that will be discussed at the Workshop include:

  • surface physics and chemistry (i.e. understanding the chemical and physical nature of MEMS/NEMS surfaces, interfaces, the role of surfaces and materials interfaces during processing, device operation, and long-term reliability);
  • device and reliability physics (i.e. understanding the physical basis for operation and failure in all types of MEMS/NEMS as well as life-time projections, scientific studies of fatigue of materials and interfaces at micro- and nano-scales);
  • modeling (i.e. developing new methods for simulating MEMS/NEMS performance);
  • understanding fundamental mechanisms of MEMS actuator and devices for sensing various agents and development new types of sensors.
  • Applications, including RF MEMS, optical MEMS, switches, sensors, and other MEMS devices
  • Micro-/nano-fabrication, processing techniques, materials and technologies used in surface and bulk micromachining
  • MEMS/NEMS characterization

The participants of the Workshop represent a rather diverse international group of recognized scientists and engineers who bring a broad array of backgrounds and strengths into the workshop. The group comes from academic, industrial and governmental labs, and has both experimental and theoretical researchers with backgrounds in basic and applied areas of physics, chemistry, mechanical and electrical engineering, surface and materials science.

This workshop continues the sucessful tradition of our series of meetings in the following important areas of nano-science and technology

The workshop will be followed by IWFAC'09 meeting in July 6-10, 2009.