MIT Reports to the President 1999–2000


The Microsystems Technology Laboratories (MTL) conduct research and education with an intellectual core of Semiconductor Industry Process and Device Technology, and Integrated Circuits and Systems Design. MTL also leverages its infrastructure to foster new initiatives at the Institute and to support the general microfabrication needs of MIT.

The MTL carries out graduate and undergraduate research activities in circuits and systems that are built using microsystems technology for applications such as wireless sensing networks and intelligent vision systems. Additionally, researchers are investigating the fabrication and study of small (i.e., micrometer to nanometer) structures and their use for the implementation of interesting integrated devices from nanometer-scale electronic devices to optical switches to displays to biosensors to microturbine engines. The MTL facilities include laboratory space for electronics test and assembly, computation and communication, and microfabrication. The MTL microfabrication facilities include three clean rooms; the state-of-the-art class-10 Integrated Circuits Laboratory (ICL), the flexible process environment Technology Research Laboratory (TRL), and the Exploratory Materials Laboratory (EML). In AY2000, the MTL fabrication facilities were utilized by 320 students and staff. The fabrication and computation facilities of the MTL are maintained and operated by a full time technical staff, and used by research students and staff.

Beyond the research programs, the MTL support several educational initiatives that leverage the research infrastructure of the labs. Chief amongst these is the undergraduate microfabrication laboratory, a lecture/laboratory course in which 120 students/year are afforded the opportunity to microfabricate an electronic device in the state-of-the-art MTL facilities. Additionally, we offer a project laboratory for team-based design of microfabricated structures. The Technology Demonstration Laboratory, developed by Professor Sodini, is housed in MTL and provides EECS M.Eng. students the chance to work on thesis topics with a technology integration and demonstration focus. Lastly, via the I-Campus Initiative, Professor del Alamo is developing a series of web-based laboratory tools that permit testing of microfabricated structures.

MTL maintains a strong and vibrant interaction with industries that value not only the research output, but also the students that are educated in state-of-the-art microsystems technology. The MTL facilities are supported in part by industry through the MIT Microsystems Industrial Group (MIG), whose current members include: Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Analog Devices, Applied Materials, Compaq, IBM, Intel Corporation, Lucent Technologies, Motorola, Inc. Novellus Systems, Texas Instruments, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (TSMC), as well as members of the Microsystems Affiliates Program whose members are Kokusai/BTI Corporation and Sony Corporation. Two industry-funded centers are also housed in the MTL; the Circuits and Systems Center, and the Intelligent Transportation Research Center.


The clean-room space is being renovated for upgrade to 6" diameter silicon wafers. To date, more than $10 million of fabrication equipment (largely donated) has been installed in the building.

A new laboratory, the Exploratory Materials Laboratory (EML), was created in MTL this year. The lab was established to provide a thin film microfabrication facility for the users that were displaced by the closing of the former Microlab in CMSE. The integration of this laboratory into MTL compliments the existing laboratories and provides the users of MTL facilities with process capability that spans state-of-the-art silicon processes all the way to highly flexible novel materials microfabrication.

Profesor Jesus del Alamo was awarded a research grant under the I-Campus initiative to expand the web-based laboratory tools for education that he has developed.

Professor Judy Hoyt joined the faculty of EECS and MTL as an Associate Professor. Professor Hoyt’s research in silicon-based materials and devices provides MTL with a critical research thrust in our core research area. She will establish an advanced film growth capability that will enable research in a class of devices that we previously had not explored.


We plan to complete the conversion and upgrade of our microfabrication facilities to a 6" diameter wafers compatible facility. This conversion will position MTL for continued contributions in research and education, and will solidify MTL as one of the premier university microfabrication facilities.

We will continue space renovations and relocations intended to optimize the utilization of our space. The MTL research and education initiatives have expanded by approximately 10 fold in the past 15 years without a significant growth in the space allocation to the laboratory. This has created intense pressure on the researchers in the laboratory and has forced us to continuously work to optimize the use of space in the laboratory. It is clear the primary limitation on growth of the laboratory into logical new research areas is paced by the availability of space to accommodate this growth.

MTL is in the midst of a strategic planning process that will conlcude this year. Since it’s creation approximately 15 years ago, we have grown significantly in both numbers and research breadth such that MTL is now widely recognized as an international leader in microsystems. This growth has created a number of challenges and opportunities. The strategic planning process will enable us to address the challenges and select opportunities based upon our core strengths.

More information about the Microsystems Technology Laboratories can be found on the World Wide Web at

Martin A. Schmidt

MIT Reports to the President 1999–2000