Electrical and Computer Engineering

WIMS Seminar

A New Age for MEMS

Kurt Petersen, PhD
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Kurt Petersen, PhD,
CEO and co-founder, SiTime,
Consulting Professor of EE, Stanford University

Recent dramatic changes in the semiconductor industry are creating major opportunities for MEMS. Enormous and growing wafer capacity, plummeting prices for ICs, technology advances and changes in attitude regarding new processes and new materials, together with the China-effect, are all having an impact on the types of projects and products being developed and manufactured by the traditionally MEMS-averse IC industry. This presentation will discuss some historical perspectives on MEMS technology and products and how MEMS may be positioned for future growth.
Kurt Petersen received his BS degree cum laude in EE from UC Berkeley in 1970. In 1975, he received a PhD in EE from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Petersen established a micromachining research group at IBM from 1975 to 1982, during which he wrote the review paper “Silicon as a Mechanical Material,” published in the IEEE Proceedings (May 1982). This paper is still the most frequently referenced work in the field of micromachining and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS).

Since 1982, Dr. Petersen has co-founded four companies involved in MEMS technologies, Transensory Devices Inc. in 1982, NovaSensor in 1985, Cepheid in 1996, and SiTime in 2005. These companies have all become technical and commercial leaders in the field of MEMS devices and applications. Cepheid was established with the mission of commercializing advanced MEMS techniques and other technologies for miniaturized, biomedical and microfluidic systems and instruments, particularly in the area of fast, portable, automated nucleic acid (DNA/RNA) analysis for diagnostic applications in the biomedical, environmental, and food industries as well as for bio-warfare defense. Cepheid has become a recognized industry leader in rapid DNA purification, detection, and analysis. Most recently, SiTime will be commercializing MEMS-based silicon resonators and oscillators.

Dr. Petersen has published over 100 papers, and has been granted over 30 patents in the field of MEMS. In 2001 he was awarded the IEEE Simon Ramo Medal for his contributions to MEMS. Dr. Petersen is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and is a Fellow of the IEEE in recognition of his contributions to “the commercialization of MEMS technology.”

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WIMS ERC Seminar Series