Jamie Phillips named Director of the Lurie Nanofabrication Facility

Phillips – who specializes in optoelectronic devices for next generation infrared detectors, solar cells, and thin film electronics – shares his goals for the 13,500 sq. ft. state-of-the-art cleanroom facility.

Jamie Phillips Enlarge
Jamie Phillips

Jamie Phillips, the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has been named the new director of the Lurie Nanofabrication Facility (LNF) effective 9/1/19. The LNF is a world-class cleanroom facility with over 13,500 sq. ft. of state-of-the-art cleanroom space that provides advanced micro- and nano-fabrication equipment and expertise to internal and external researchers. The LNFsupports and enables cutting edge research from semiconductor materials and devices, electronic circuits, solid-state lighting, energy, biotechnology, medical devices and unconventional materials and processing technologies.

Research conducted in the LNF has led to:

  • improved neural probes for treatment of Parkinson’s and other diseases
  • novel methods to uncover the mysteries of the brain
  • integrated sensors for use in stents for the carotid arteries
  • nanoscale lasers
  • cochlear implants
  • transparent and flexible electronics
  • high-efficiency lighting
  • integrated microsystems for autonomous data gathering
  • colorful and artistic solar cells
  • new devices for weapons detection and medical imaging
  • carbon nanotube coating for cloaking

and much more.

Fabricated device in the LNF with researches in bunny suits Enlarge

Prof. Phillips has been using the LNF ever since he was a graduate student here at Michigan.

“My research intimately depends on the LNF, and I’m excited to see the facility continue to evolve and expand,” Phillips said.

Phillips’ recent research includes energy harvesting for small electronic devices. His research group developed a new gallium arsenide solar cell module that can power the Michigan Micro Mote – the world’s smallest computer – and he’s helped design photovoltaic cells than can harvest infrared light as well, which is useful for powering implantable medical devices. One of the medical devices his team worked on was a tumor monitoring device that could measure a variety of conditions, such as temperature and pressure. More recently, his research group is investigating the use of near-infrared light for a neural recording probe to provide power and wireless communications, which could help us learn more about how the brain operates. The project is in a collaboration with Professors David Blaauw, Cindy Chestek, and Hun Seok Kim, as well as Prof. Taekwang Jang at ETH Zurich.

“Thanks to the LNF, we can actually create a lot of these interesting devices, and having state-of-the-art tools is key for so many different things that we’re going to see in the future,” Phillips said. “It’s important for energy, electronics, optoelectronics, and so on, but also the next generation of computing, which are shrinking to smaller dimensions. The question is, what is the next computer or computer chip going to look like? It’s probably very different than the standard silicon electronics technology we see now.”

Working with the Managing Director, Dr. Sandrine Martin, other LNF staff, faculty users across the College of Engineering, as well as other users in the rest of the University and beyond, Phillips plans to support the continued evolution of the facility.

“I think we have the best staff anywhere, and I’m really proud of the expertise here,” Phillips said. “The LNF supports so many different areas of research, and I would like to ensure that we’re keeping up and enabling those different application spaces to continue.”

Phillips is a member of the University of Michigan Energy Institute. He has received an NSF CAREER Award and a DARPA Young Faculty Award, and he was recently recognized by the College of Engineering with the Staff-Faculty Partnership Award, which is given to only one faculty member in the entire college who demonstrates exceptional collaboration skills.

More about the LNF

Researchers in bunny suits in the LNF Enlarge

The LNF is a shared user facility and currently serves nearly 500 users from academia, government, and industry, offering a fertile ground for collaboration among student users, faculty groups, and non-academic researchers. Most users were U-M researchers from many different engineering disciplines as well as Michigan Medicine including the Cancer Center, Pediatrics, and Psychology, as well as the College of Literature, Arts, & Sciences and more. The remaining users came from local startup companies, larger corporations, government agencies, and about 20 universities (including institutions in Canada and Korea)

Technical staff members support the LNF facilities, programs and user community, and provide key expertise to help and advise researchers with their projects. Comprehensive patterning and micro/nanofabrication technologies are available for surface and bulk micromachining, electroplating, wafer bonding, optical and e-beam lithography, direct write and printing techniques, wet and dry etching, thin-film deposition, chemical vapor deposition, oxidation/ doping/ diffusion, lapping/polishing. The facility provides the user community with the flexibility to work with many different materials and most equipment can handle samples from small pieces up to 150mm diameter samples.

Among the grand challenges LNF research addresses through specific technology are: wireless implantable microsystems to address a wide variety of medical challenges, including glaucoma, epilepsy, deafness, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes; microelectrode arrays for reverse-engineering the brain; biomimetic microsystems for intelligent electronic systems; diagnostic biomedical microsystems for detection of cancer, TB, and DNA; high-efficiency energy converters and power electronics; environmental monitoring systems; infrastructure monitoring; and sensors for personal and national security.

It also supports the Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Wireless Integrated MicroSystems (WIMS), one of the leading research centers worldwide on MEMS and microsystems, with applications for integrated sensors/actuators, microsystems, biology, medical microsystems, chemistry, and environmental monitoring.

In addition to pure research, the LNF offers a broad range of expertise and equipment to support high impact education, research and business development activities. The LNF team offers professional workshops to the community and outreach events to the general public. They also hold an annual LNF Users Symposium with technical talks, poster sessions, and the opportunity for valuable networking.

For more on the history of the LNF, visit our History section