Microsystems Engineering for a Greener World

ECE Seminar: Microsystems Engineering for a Greener World

Starts at: November 8, 2012 4:30 PM

Location: Scaife Hall Auditorium

Speaker: Amit Lal

Affiliation: Cornell

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ECE Grad Seminar Speaker ~ Amit Lal, Cornell University

Seminar details: - Thurs. Nov. 8th , 4:30-5:30pm EST, Pittsburgh Campus: Scaife Auditorium (Room 125), Refreshments at 4pm. - Silicon Valley campus: Rm 118, Building 23 at 1:30 PST


Amit Lal, Ph.D., Professor, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Cornell University

Title: Microsystems Engineering for a Greener World 


MEMS and Microsystems technologies have traditionally aimed at providing greater functionality for integrated electronics with sensing and actuation. This level of integration provides small systems that can save lives and help prevent disasters, and even help sustain environment, via small wireless sensor nodes. If all of these sensor nodes are powered by batteries, the proliferation of batteries and sensor nodes may not be a sustainable technology. This talk will present advances in MEMS based power sources that may lead to greener power sources. Micro power harvesters can harness power from vibration, radioisotopes, light, sound, and biology may provide pathways to minimize or even eliminate batteries in sensor nodes. In this talk work on radioisotope thin films for MEMs functionality will be the focus. We will present results on how radioactive thin films can be used to power MEMS, provide sensing capability, provide stable clocks, and even provide a tool to nanofabricate structures through massively parallel electron lithography, and resulting silicon nanowire devices.


Amit Lal is a Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. He received his B.S. degree (1990) in Electrical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology, and his Ph.D. degree (1996) in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. His doctoral research, conducted in the Berkeley Sensors and Actuators Center, was in the area of ultrasonic MEMS. Prior to joining the Cornell faculty in 2002, Prof. Lal was on the faculty of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His technical interests and activities are in the areas of MEMS, ultrasonics, optics, micromachining, piezoelectric systems, design and analysis of integrated circuits, and applications of radioactivity in microsystems. From 2005-2009, Prof. Lal served as a Program Manager in the Microsystems Technology Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), where he developed and managed programs in the areas of navigation, low-energy computation, bio-robotics, and atomic microsystems. He holds 18 patents and has published more than 145 research papers in the area of microsystem engineering. He is the recipient of the NSF CAREER award and, with his students, several best paper awards at the IEEE Ultrasonics and Frequency Control Symposium and IEEE NEMS conferences. He is also a recipient of the Department of Defense Exceptional Service Award, and a Best Program Manager Award for his work at DARPA.