June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.386.1 - 15.386.13
Developing Microfabrication Capabilities across the Americas: A Chilean – US Case Study Abstract
This paper describes collaborative work between Chilean and American universities to develop microfabrication capabilities to educate Chilean students in design, development and fabrication of Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS). Microfabrication facilities are extremely rare in Latin American universities, and students there have virtually no exposure to this key technology. To our knowledge, the facility documented in this paper is the first microfabrication facility to be developed for university education in Chile and only the second in Latin America. Challenges included the extremely small budget available for the project and the paucity of educational and resource materials available in Latin America.
Microfabrication is a key enabling manufacturing technology. Almost all digital electronics are manufactured using these microfabrication techniques. Over the last thirty years, the suite of available microfabrication techniques has expanded dramatically. This expansion has enabled the rapid rise of a new field, Microelectromechanical Systems or MEMS. The economic impact of these manufacturing methods is enormous. For this reason, many facilities and programs have been developed in educational institutions in the US to introduce students to microfabrication methods [1-5]. Educating both undergraduate and graduate students in microfabrication and batch manufacturing methods is commonly seen as key to promoting US economic competitiveness, by contributing to the talent base required by industry and by enhancing public understanding of one of the key technologies shaping the industrial world.
While many microfabrication facilities can be found in US colleges and universities, information about such facilities in educational institutions in Latin American is sparse. It appears that extremely few such facilities exist and that very few Latin American students have the opportunity to learn microfabrication methods first hand, or to gain hands-on experience actually fabricating microdevices. Thus while products such as cell phones, personal computers, and video games are ubiquitous in Latin America, experience with the micromanufacturing techniques used to produce these consumer items is extremely rare. To our knowledge, only one university in Spanish-speaking South America has a cleanroom dedicated to education and research, the Universidad de Los Andes in Colombia [6, 7]. Certainly, when we began our project there was no university-based microfabrication facility in Chile.
For this reason, we decided to develop facilities in Chile to enable students there to learn basic surface micromachining techniques sufficient to fabricate simple MEMS structures. Our goal then was to develop a university-based microfabrication capability to provide opportunity for local students to gain experience in micromachining techniques. In addition, since Chilean students are strongly motivated by national need and national
Yanez, M. J., & Gramsch, E., & Santander, R., & Richards, C., & Richards, R. (2010, June), Developing Microfabrication Capabilities Across The Americas: A Case Study Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15774
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