MIT Reports to the President 1996-97


The Microsystems Technology Laboratories (MTL) are organized to provide facilities and a working environment to support undergraduate and graduate education through teaching and research in the area of microsystems technology.

The MTL carries out graduate research activities in the fabrication and study of small (i.e., micron, submicron, and nanometer) structures and their use for the implementation of interesting integrated systems from X-ray lenses to VLSI circuits to micro-gas turbine engines. The expanding and dynamic research program covers solid state devices, integrated circuits and systems, materials for electronic applications, novel process technologies, MicroElectroMechanical Devices, and computer-aided fabrication. The MTL houses three clean room facilities (the Integrated Circuits Laboratory - ICL, the Technology Research Laboratory - TRL, and the NanoStructures Laboratory - NSL), and associated non-clean laboratory space (the Research Group Laboratories - RGL), and the Computational and Communication Network facility. The centerpiece facility of the MTL is the Integrated Circuits Laboratory, a state-of-the-art class-10 clean lab with full capabilities for modern IC fabrication. The lab is operated by a full time technical staff and graduate students. The facilities of the MTL are also utilized for the laboratory component of the undergraduate microelectronics processing course (6.152J).

Personnel involved in ongoing research activities at the MTL include over 50 Faculty, 10 Senior Research Staff, 240 Graduate Students, 120 Undergraduate Students, 17 Post-doctoral Fellows, 16 Visiting Scientists, 28 Research Affiliates, 26 Technical Support Staff, and 15 Administrative and Support Staff. These faculty, students and staff represent affiliations including the Departments of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Civil Engineering, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Physics; the Center for Materials Science and Engineering, the Center for Space Research, the Gas Turbine Laboratory, the Laboratory for Electromagnetic and Electronic Systems, the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems, the Laboratory for Computer Science, the Research Laboratory of Electronics, the Sloan School and the Turbulence Research Laboratory. The facilities of the MTL are also open to external users under the Outreach Program (government and academia), and through several industrial programs. Current external users of the MTL include Analog Devices, Digital Semiconductor, Motorola Corp., Hewlett-Packard, Polaroid Corporation, Hitachi, Sharp Corporation, Sony Corporation, Institute for Advanced Engineering, Boston University, Case Western Reserve University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Kanazawa University, Northeastern University, Princeton University, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Tufts University, the Shriners Burn Institute, University of Utah, Princeton University, the University of Utah, University of Tokyo, and the Universidad Politecnica de Catalunya. During the 1996-1997 academic year, 16 Ph.D., 20 S. M. and 11 M. Eng. degrees were awarded in conjunction with research activities whose primary area of focus was microfabrication and which were strongly coupled to the facilities of the MTL.

Research in the MTL may be grouped into three major interdisciplinary, interactive research themes: Microsystems, Nanoscale Technology/Devices, and Manufacturing, and further divided into the following ten categories:

Integrated Circuits and Systems include analog and digital integrated circuit (IC) design as well as advanced process development for "mixed analog/digital signal" IC applications.

Microelectromechanical Devices include technologies for micromachining, design of microsensors and microactuators, and the application of these devices to physical and chemical measurements.

Electronic Devices include research on novel devices operating in the semi-classical regime.

Quantum-Effect Devices include novel device structures designed specifically to study and explore quantum mechanical effects arising from carrier interactions with features of sub-100 nm dimensions.

Submicron and Nanometer Structures include some "nanofabrication" projects that are not directly related to electronic devices. The NanoStructures Laboratory develops techniques for the fabrication of surface structures with feature sizes in the range of nanometers to micrometers, and uses these structures in a variety of research projects.

Modeling and Simulation covers the use of numerical techniques that solve complex problems of carrier transport and device operations as well as physical problems that arise during materials and device processing.

Fabrication Technology covers a broad area of processing and device fabrication with two main themes: novel processes for integrated circuit and device fabrication in silicon and compound semiconductors, and fundamentals underlying materials processing effects.

Manufacturing includes computer-based modeling and simulation of fabrication processes and execution in a realistic fabrication environment; work flow scheduling; process equipment modeling and process control; and microstructure/mechanical property simulation.

Materials, with the common theme of growth and characterization of thin films for electronic applications, include research of novel silicon and silicon-germanium epitaxy, the formation of heterostructures in compound semiconductors, polyimides in microelectronics, and the study and control of the crystalline structure of very thin films.

Optoelectronics covers a variety of novel structures such as laser diodes, quantum well structures, and distributed-feedback lasers, both in Si and in compound semiconductors.

The MTL facilities are supported in part by members of the MIT Microsystems Industrial Group (MIG), whose current members include: Analog Devices, Inc.; Applied Materials, Inc.; Advanced Micro Devices; Digital Semiconductor; Ford Microelectronics, Inc.; General Motors Corporation/Delco Electronics/Hughes Electronics; Hewlett-Packard Company; IBM; Intel Corporation; Lucent Technologies; Motorola, Inc.; Polaroid Corporation; Rockwell International; and Texas Instruments, as well as members of the Microsystems Affiliates Program whose members are Kokusai/BTI Corporation and Sony Corporation.

Outreach activities carried out by the MTL include a weekly VLSI Seminar Series, MTL Memo Series, and the MTL Bulletin. The MTL also publishes a comprehensive Annual Report.

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

Rafael Reif

MIT Reports to the President 1996-97