the world's leading manufacturer of silicon
sensors and microstructures, has become the newest partner company of
Center for Integrated Systems. Located in Fremont, California, their
proximity to both Stanford and U.C. Berkeley affords LNS the
to remain on the cutting edge of research and development in the
advancement of semiconductors and computer technologies. Since its
founding in 1985, Lucas NovaSensor has been a pioneer in the
and production of low-cost, high-performance sensors and transducers
utilizing advanced silicon micromachining processes and computer-aided
"Our relationship with the Stanford Center for Integrated Systems is of great importance to Lucas NovaSensor. Our aim is for a long term relationship, as opposed to short term research contracts and grants," said John Pendergrass, Vice President and COO of Lucas NovaSensor.
John Pendergrass, Vice President and Chief Operating Office of LNS
LNS is the industry leader in the design, development
and production of custom MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS),
specializing in surface and bulk silicon micromachining to create
three-dimensional sensors and structures. Proprietary technologies
utilize integrated circuit batch processing to fabricate unique
mechanical microstructures onto silicon wafers. Sensors are
with their patented SenStable® technology, ensuring unparalleled
electrical stability. Silicon Fusion Bonding (SFB) of silicon
wafers at the molecular level enables smaller, more complex, mechanical
sensor geometrics. Integrated Sensor Packaging allows advanced
microsensors to operate continuously in harsh environments: high
operating temperatures, acids, solvents or corrosive gases.
Lucas NovaSensor is a pioneer in Deep Reactive Ion Etching (DRIE), a new process with dramatic potential for microstructure designs. More controlled than conventional methods, DRIE effectively increases silicon surface area with deeper vertical etching, allowing significant reductions in horizontal chip size, more flexible designs in silicon, and custom sculpting. DRIE can improve microfluidics for medical applications such as drug delivery, DNA analysis, and chemical sensing. DRIE can enhance telecommunications systems by producing smaller, more powerful chips for low power tuning networks, better oscillators, better capacitors, better resonators, and filters.
In transportation, DRIE has significant potential
to improve performance and reduce the size of accelerometers,
gyroscopes, and fuel delivery systems.
LNS manufactures over 15 million sensors per year
including pressure sensors and other specialized micromachined
sensors for a variety of automotive, biomedical, industrial and
consumer electronic applications. As the world's largest producer
of pressure sensors for invasive and noninvasive procedures in
the medical industry, LNS has developed sensors for such things
as intracardial pressure, intrauterine pressure (IUP), disposable
angioplasty balloon catheters, infusion pumps, dialysis equipment,
respirators, and infant ventilators.
Microsensors with automotive applications keep large
tractor trailer drivers continually informed about tire temperature
and pressure, while they have developed sensors for tire pressure,
manifold absolute pressure (MAP), oil pressure and fuel in passenger
cars. LNS' products are used in heating, ventilation, refrigeration,
food processing, hydraulic monitoring and wastewater treatment
and they are the leading supplier of pressure sensors to large
industrial OEM manufacturers.
Finally, LNS has developed sensors for consumer products
including recreation, physical fitness, and home applications
- hang gliders, mountaineering equipment, sports training, bicycle
tires and SCUBA tanks.
Noting that the performance of commercial micromachined pressure sensors was not appropriate for the upcoming Mars probe mission under the direction of Stanford
At the Fall 1996 CIS Advisory Committee Meeting Nadim
Maluf, consulting professor in EE at the Stanford Micromachined Transducers Laboratory
Lucas NovaSensor's representative on
the CIS Advisory
Committee emphasized the importance of R&D
in MEMS, the key role played by universities in providing R&D
for small and medium sized companies, and the benefits of a long
term relationship with CIS.
Nadim Maluf, LNS Chief Scientist
He noted some of the recent LNS and CIS collaborative activities, including a joint DARPA contract, a joint NSF Program, LNS staff using the Stanford CIS facility, Stanford students using the LNS facility, joint (Stanford and LNS) student advising, and two-way technology transfer.
As Maluf recently remarked: "Stanford has been
of great help. A small company needs access to emerging advanced
technologies. CIS has been a very productive partnership, of great
benefit to LNS."
Maluf went on to provide the committee with an excellent
listing of what CIS offers to its partner
Lucas NovaSensor provides advanced solutions for
microsensor applications. Advanced technologies, innovative solutions
and fast development are the key ingredients of its success in
the microsensor industry.
For more information, see the Lucas NovaSensor web site at http://www.novasensor.com
Lucas NovaSensor is a business unit of Lucas Varity's
Electrical and Electronic Systems Group.
As the academic year draws
to a close, many students are preparing to enter the workforce
- in either summer or full-time positions. Fortunately, the job
market is good and companies are increasingly eager to offer challenges
to talented students who thrive on projects forging new paradigms.
Whether in the area of devices, circuits (digital, analog or
or systems (hard, firm or software based), our students have gained
essential experience through project-oriented courses that often
include real prototyping and testing. In many cases, the prototyping
is leveraged by strategic industrial assistance, for example chip
fabrication, design tools and a range of donated equipment (computers,
instrumentation, IC fabrication). Combined with a growing electronics
industry, one might conclude all is well on the research front.
It is our academic nature to be optimistic, if for no other reason
than the fact that working with smart and independent-minded students
is conducive to growth in the pursuit of new horizons.
There are, however, clouds in the "research funding sky"
that most certainly carry precipitation. For example, it is well-known
that competitiveness has generally effected a restructuring (as
well as downsizing) of research worldwide. Semiconductor Industry
Associates (SIA) has tried to quantify the gap between projected
demands for research that exceed projected supply, including dollar
estimates of the shortfall. (The SIA projections do not include
specific considerations of the ongoing need for new graduates
to enter the workforce.) In an ambitious plan to help fill the
research gap, SIA Focus Centers are being planned that will ramp
up over several years and which are projected to support several
tens-of-millions dollars annually in research across about a dozen
technical areas - design and interconnects are the first two now
in the white-paper/proposal stages.
At the same time, there is an ongoing effort (and mandate) in
Washington to balance the budget. The Department of Defense (DoD)
continues to be a major user of electronics. Yet, with the abundance
of commercial products and off-the-shelf (COTS) technology, there
is a preponderance of military (and congressional) opinion that
DoD leverage, including R&D in semiconductors, is not needed
- the industry will do it themselves. The XORs (X=Army, Navy,
Air Force; OR=office of research) have been under severe budgetary
pressure for several years. Increased emphasis on mission-oriented
projects, leveraged by unique DoD requirements is also now affecting
the semiconductor research-related support coming from DARPA.
The combined shifts of emphasis and total funds spent by DoD compound
the problem of R&D shortfalls projected by SIA in this area.
Certainly the SIA and our CIS partner companies are becoming aware of
these trends. Our challenge is how to sustain a vibrant research
environment, including the continued support of graduate education of
talent needed to fuel the information revolution.
The Stanford-endowed graduate fellowship program (CIS
#49) is one very positive and powerful step that will support
300 students annually when the project reaches steady state -
100 new students will start on the program each year. Yet, experimental
prototyping in the areas of technology circuits and integrated
systems require much more than fellowship support. NSF understood
this reality when it took the bold step in the formulation and
support of the National
Nanofabrication Users Network (NNUN). The NNUN seed grant program
supported through CIS partner contributions has been of strategic
importance to bootstrap low budget, concept-proving
technology prototypes. More such efforts, perhaps with specific
support from industry, are needed.
In the past two newsletters we have highlighted projects in
systems and technology areas. The circuits and design technologies
area is the third broad focus of the CIS research program, with
several highly visible projects that are successful from the
side; the distributed sensors project headed by Professors Greg
Kovacs and Teresa
Meng and the wireless architectures
project that Professors Tom
Lee and Bruce
head are two excellent examples. Both these projects are relatively
mature and have attracted growing direct interactions (including
FMA connections) among the faculty, students and industrial partners.
There has also been some important progress in thermal modeling
of IC devices and interconnects that Professor Ken
Goodson (ME) has pioneered, and which is now funded both by CIS
(through FMA contributions) and SRC.
Probably the most exciting developments in the CAD area come
our faculty in both the Computer Science Department and Computer
Systems Laboratory (in EE) that are broadly attacking the challenges
of digital system design, validation and computational prototyping.
DeMicheli is addressing the challenge of
how to use the power of an internet-based prototyping environment
to harness the power of distributed human and computational resources.
Horowitz and David
Dill are active in the design and verification of high performance
systems (and networks) of processors. As an overarching theme,
the design of chips and larger systems (of chips) limited by
has become a dominant driver of this group's common research.
Owing to the importance of this topic - design technologies for
interconnects - I will devote a major portion of the next newsletter
to outlining the interrelationship of our thrust research efforts
across this broad area.
In March of this year, three CIS students, accompanied by Professors Tom Lee and Teresa Meng, visited
The students, all from the Tom Lee/Teresa Meng "Real
Radio" research group reported that "It was wonderful
discussing technical matters with the Ericsson people. The flow
of information was bidirectional and we learned a great deal."
Their individual personal feedback is worth quoting in full:
Arvin Shahani, EE graduate student of Professor Lee:
"I was impressed with the engineers at Ericsson. They were excellent hosts and provided good discussions about our research topics. The interaction was a two way process, and we came away from Ericsson with a sense of accomplishment."
Mar Hershenson, EE graduate student of Professor Lee:
"Ericsson organized a great visit for us. Dr. Martin Schoon provided me with ideas for research in power amplifiers. Also, talking to Dr. Ted Johansson was very informative. He explained what he had done and what was currently being done in power amplifier research. The people at Ericsson made us feel very welcome. They were extremely nice hosts."
Derek Shaeffer, EE graduate student of Professor Lee:
"I was very impressed by the quality of the interaction that we had with our hosts at Ericsson. The questions that we were asked about our research were of a caliber that betrayed a level of insight that is rare. In addition, the dialogue was bidirectional; we were able to benefit from some of their own research results that were directly relevant to ongoing research here at Stanford."
Ericsson MERC Director Gunnar Björklund greeting the SPIE Team
During the trip, the SPIE group also visited KTH,
the Royal Institute of Technology. Professor Meng met with Digital
Signal Processing people from Ericsson, while Professor Lee and
the three students met with analog circuits people, discussing
several topics, including low noise amplifiers, phase noise in
oscillators, power amplifiers, and new mixer topologies.
Significant progress was made during the course of their
discussions, and future collaboration has been planned.
Higher education is not in danger. But we would be wise to ask whether the particularly quaint way in which universities now do their work will survive the transformation of information technology. It may, but I don't think so. I expect to see major changes - changes not only in execution of the mission of universities but in our perception of the mission itself. William A. Wulf, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
There is still a great deal of hype with respect to the
communications revolution, and some
of it is not even new. You have only to read articles about how
the expansion of radio in the 1920's would reduce the need for
more universities, or the predicted effect of television and
videophones on education in the early 1950's to realize that political,
and social considerations have as much to do with whether things
really change as does the actual technology. Yet certain inventions,
the telephone for example, had a utility so high, and a cost so
low, that their value was quickly realized. We are now at a point
with the new communications technologies where their impact on
the teaching and research communities could be quite profound,
and Stanford, CIS, and our partner companies will make significant
contributions to this effort.
Digital libraries, multimedia, CD-ROMs, the Internet
and videoconferencing are increasing in popularity at Stanford
and elsewhere, not only because they make it possible to do old
things in new ways, for example, video broadcasts of traditional
"talk and chalk" presentations, but because they also
make it possible to do new things in new ways, for example, the
electronic sharing of class notes among students. How many times,
in how many courses, and at how many Stanford locations, do we
need to have faculty lecturing on the third law of thermodynamics?
Cannot these lectures be modularized in one set of outstanding
presentations, available on demand to students in such courses
as physics, chemistry, and mechanical engineering?
Two-way link between Stanford and Sweden with Björn Gudmunson, Stanford Prof. Dale Harris, Executive Director Center for Telecommunications and Björn Pehrson, Chairman of KTH Department of Teleinformatics
sponsored Synthesis Coalition is an example of a program making
use of communications tools in undergraduate engineering education. The
Coalition is a union of eight diverse institutions, including Stanford,
whose goal is to design, implement and assess new approaches to
undergraduate teaching and learning. These approaches include an
emphasize on multidisciplinary synthesis, teamwork, communication,
hands-on and laboratory experiences, open problem formulation and
and the use of "best practices" from industry.
With respect to research, communications advances provide new and different possibilities for collaboration among investigators next door and around the world. As Paul Losleben, senior research scientist at CIS puts it:
I've been in this business for over 30 years, and I've never seen anything with the impact of the present revolution in computing and communications. It's like we've passed a threshold, and suddenly things are easy. The Internet is seeing a 15-20% growth rate per month. This is more than just an occurrence, this is a phenomenon!
Communication tools allow for more than just the
sharing of information via e-mail or on the World Wide Web. They
make possible real-time collaboration, including the remote sharing
of data, the operation of equipment and the carrying out of
experiments. Hypermedia - hyper links to documents, video, and sound -
dramatically the information bandwidth and are beginning to make
long-distance collaboration a reality. Through such "teleresearch,"
investigators are not only able to see each other via video displays
on their desks but also to interact with shared graphics and other
information on their screens.
Losleben and Dwain Boning, a professor at M.I.T., are collaborating on a jointly funded project dealing with the remote monitoring, fault detection and diagnosis of semiconductor manufacturing equipment. Among other things, this project involves the remote monitoring by researchers at Stanford of an Applied Materials P5000 machine at M.I.T.
Such collaborations have the potential of breaking what sociologists refer to as the "eight-meter rule" which is based on the observation that the most significant interactions take place among people who are in close physical proximity to each other.
I believe we are going to see increasing use of these new technologies in teaching, learning and research, with our CIS member companies serving as true partners in our mutual efforts.
Fellow: Patrick Canupp, Aeronautics/
It all began in the summer of 1995 when Dr. Ralf Peter Brinkmann, who works in the simulation project (on plasma modeling) at
Brinkmann was working on
of a computer program to enable self-consistent simulation of
plasma processing. The project was in its early design phase. "I had
already made a list of sub-projects to be performed,
one of which was the task of writing an efficient neutral gas
simulator," commented Brinkmann. Professor MacCormack was
looking for a new field in which to apply his specialty, simulation
of neutral gas flow at low pressure. He was also looking for
funding for a student, Patrick Canupp, who was anxious to dive
into a new applications area.
As a result a
very successful CIS
Program) relationship was born. As Brinkmann puts it: "You
can imagine how well we fit into our respective plans. So in
some respect, it was a coincidence. But then, CIS does a lot
to make these coincidences happen!"
At that time,
Siemens had an FMA
CIS already in place, involving Peter Smeys (F), Herman
Jacobs (M) and Professor Krishna
(A). There was no question that when Peter graduated, Siemens was going
continue their FMA program and that their next fellow would be
In a plasma
reactor there is
plasma, i.e. a gas of
electrons and ions generated by ionizing the feedgas. However,
most of the feedgas (99.9999% or so) is NOT ionized, but still
an ordinary (neutral) gas. Describing that gas and its flow at
low pressure is something very different from describing a plasma,
and complicated in its own right.
In response to
the demand for the
processing of large
wafers, semiconductor equipment manufacturers have proposed low
pressure, high density plasmas for etch applications. Since the
neutral gas participated in the etching mechanism, this FMA sought
to develop a fast simulation tool capable of predicting reactor
performance with external operating conditions such as pressure
and feedstock gas flow rate.
developed a fast
plasma model, Canupp worked on a neutral gas simulator in order
to take results from the plasma code as inputs and determine the
neutral gas behavior.
quote Canupp: "We have
a numerical technique for simulating the neutral gas component
of etching plasmas. The fellowship has fostered close interaction
between myself and the Equipment Simulation Group at Siemens."
quite favorably of
in general, and particularly of the progress he has made on their
joint FMA project. "I think his astonishing speed is partly
due to his hard work, and partly due to the encouraging environment
in which he works."
now prepares to
leave CIS, having
successfully completed not only his Ph.D., and taken a teaching
position as Assistant Professor of Mathematics, but also his FMA
with Siemens. According to Brinkmann, "Our experiences with
the two FMAs have demonstrated that a collaboration between CIS
and Siemens Corporate Research is possible, even though there
are several thousand miles, and nine time zones, between us."
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