Labs-Engineering Research Accelerator - Carnegie Mellon University

Microsystems Labs

Microelectromechanical Systems Lab (MEMS) (lab website)
Gary Fedder, Tamal Mukherjee, Peter Gilgunn

The MEMS Laboratory performs research on CMOS-MEMS integration, microsensor and actuator design, and MEMS computer-aided modeling, simulation and synthesis. From 1996 to present, the lab members have refined a hierarchical circuit-based representation of MEMS that forms the foundation for an intuitive, reusable, top-down design environment. In 1994, the lab began developing a unique process to create electrostatically actuated microstructures with high-aspect-ratio composite-beam suspensions using conventional CMOS processing followed by a sequence of maskless dry-etching steps. These technologies form a foundation for applications-based integrated MEMS research.



Advanced Chip Test Laboratory (ACTL) (lab website)
Shawn Blanton

The Advanced Chip Test Laboratory (ACTL) at Carnegie Mellon researches, develops and implements new methodologies for detecting, characterizing, and coping with integrated circuit (IC) failures. Our research involves hardware design, algorithmic development, simulation, and real silicon experiments with various industrial partners. The lab's founder and head of ACTL is Prof. Shawn Blanton.



deBoer Group (lab website)
Maarten de Boer

spacer Since 2003, silicon CMOS transistors have been scaled down to their fundamental limits. One candidate replacement that will enable further voltage reductions are NEMS switches. However, improved materials are needed to enable their reliable performance of trillions of cycles. A key issue is the build-up of a friction polymer, which can cause resistance to increase over time. Our group has found that friction polymer development is strongly reduced by selecting a combination of proper materials and also proper gas background. As seen in the attached Figure 1, in 0.25% benzene-N2, a Pt-coated switch degrades rapidly. On the other hand, in a 1:1 0.25% benzene-N2:O2 mixture, a RuO2-coated switch suffers only minimal degradation. (Note that these are very high levels of the benzene contaminant, which help to accelerate the failure).



Multiscale Manufacturing and Dynamics Lab (MMDL) (lab website)
Burak Ozdoganlar

The research in MMDL involves integration of experimental and modeling (both theoretical and numerical) approaches to a broad range of problems in multi-scale manufacturing processes and equipment. The current projects can be categorized into the following five Research Thrusts: Application-Oriented Research, Novel Micro/Nano Manufacturing Techniques, Mechanics of Micro/Nano-scale Material Removal, Dynamics and Vibrations of Micro-Scale Structures, and Precision Metrology and Manufacturing.



The AnnaLab (lab website)
Shelley Anna

spacer We are experimental fluid dynamicists interested in microfluidics, interfacial fluid mechanics, and surfactant transport. We develop innovative, microscale experimental methods to probe and control liquid-fluid interfaces, using scaling analysis, theory, and numerics as tools to complement our experiments. By developing strategies to separate timescales for relevant processes, we have been able to advance the fundamental engineering science of multiphase flows.



The LeDuc Lab (lab website)
Phil LeDuc

Biological systems are not simply collections of biochemical reactions or easily deconstructed morphological changes - they are complex systems with multiple driving forces. These forces range from the dipolar torque on biomolecules in the cytoplasm to the cyclic strain on fibroblasts in cardiac tissue, and need to be leveraged through re-engineering at each scale to make critical advances in treating disease. We have already improved our lives with more traditional study of disease, but we also need new approaches to generate future treatments. By working across fields and deconstructing biological systems using engineering approaches we can realize new treatments. We are uniquely positioned to lead this charge into the tangled web of biomechanics that drive biological systems through micro- and nano-systems.



NanoRobotics Lab (lab website)
Metin Sitti

The NanoRobotics Lab's research program is focused on developing new methods to design, manufacture, and control novel and high impact micro/nano-robotic systems in three thrust areas: miniature mobile robots, bio-inspired fibrillar adhesives, and micro/nano-manipulation systems.



Islam Research Group (lab website)
Mohammad Islam

Lightweight materials that are both highly compressible and resilient under large cyclic strains can be used in a variety of applications ranging from cushioning to energy dissipation. We have fabricated carbon nanotube based aerogels that are superelastic. These aerogels also exhibits no change in mechanical properties after more than 106 compressive cycles, and its original shape can be recovered quickly after compression release.



Particulate Flow & Tribology Laboratory (lab website)
C. Fred Higgs

The Particle Flow & Tribology Lab (PFTL) at Carnegie Mellon researches new methodologies to predicting the behavior of granular, powder, and slurry flows in sliding contacts. Our research is conducted through the synergistic use of experiments, physics-based modeling, and computational simulations. The research in the PFTL has application to the semiconductor, energy, biotechnology, nanotechnology, agricultural, space, and defense industries.



Piazza Micro and Nano Systems Laboratory (lab website)
Gianluca Piazza

Our research activities focus on understanding the fundamental science of micro and nanomechanical structures to control material properties, engineer device design and fabrication, and devise new classes of piezoelectric M/NEMS that are directly interfaced with electronic circuits for communication, computing and sensing.



Przybycien Group (lab website)
Todd Przybycien

Professor Przybycien's group is interested in the area of applied biophysics - addressing the practical problems and underlying fundamental phenomena associated with the production, formulation, and delivery of pharmaceutical proteins generated by the biotechnology industry. The focus is on protein denaturation, aggregation and adsorption phenomena that are probed on the molecular level with spectroscopic, optical and biophysical tools and then connected to studies of macroscopic, process-level behavior. This work has frequently involved the development of new experimental tools, apparati and techniques.



Soft Machines Laboratory (lab website)
Carmel Majidi

The Soft Machines Lab combines tools and insights from micro manufacturing and solid mechanics to introduce active materials that are elastic (modulus < 1 MPa, >5x stretchable), durable and impact resistant, and multifunctional. These materials will be the building blocks for a new generation of devices, computers, and robots that are composed entirely of soft material and fluids. As with natural materials and organisms, these biologically-inspired machines will be biocompatible and remain functional under large deformations and loads.