Robotic Systems Enterprise Visits Jeffers High School

RSE-jeffers-outreach-20170327Michigan Technological University’s Robotic Systems Enterprise (RSE) recently made a visit to nearby Jeffers High School to introduce students to robotics and programming.

Responding to a request from Mr. Sam Kilpela, Jeffers Science and Math teacher, the RSE Outreach team presented an introduction to Scratch and showed off their programmable miniature robots, the Hackbots and Zumos.

The Scratch programming language lets the user create a program from a drag-and-drop system, making it much easier to learn as an introductory venture into programming. Since the students had previous knowledge of basic HTML, the Outreach team provided a look into more advanced programs such as the interactive Madlibs where the students could choose a series of words and generated a sentence from those words.

Through on-site demonstrations in the classroom, the Outreach team hopes to give pre-college students a look into the world of robotics and other STEM fields.

Robotic Systems Enterprise is an industry-driven enterprise that focuses on seamlessly integrating exceptional knowledge in electronics, robotics, and programming to solve real world engineering problems. RSE is advised by Dr. Glen Archer.


Blue Marble Security Tours Georgia-Pacific

L-R: Matt Hargas, Victoria Fueri, Andrew Tallman, Johnathan Presti, Sandra Cvetanovic, Kyle Domas
L-R: Matt Hargas, Victoria Fueri, Andrew Tallman, Johnathan Presti, Sandra Cvetanovic, Kyle Domas

Members of Blue Marble Security Enterprise went right to the source this week to gain knowledge of their project sponsor’s operations and products.

Georgia-Pacific engineers, and Michigan Tech alumni, Mitch Edbauer (ECE) and John Cretens (MEEM) hosted the site visit and provided a tour of GP’s Green Bay-Broadway Paper Mill. The students were impressed by the company’s process automation, where they saw entire sections of the plant controlled by a single person. They were equally impressed by Georgia-Pacific’s environmental commitment including the use of 100% recycled fiber in their product production.

This year the BMS team has been researching ways to replace disposable batteries in automated soap and paper towel dispensers. The project includes finding alternative energy and methods to more efficiently disperse the products.

Blue Marble Security is a virtual company of undergraduate students focused on securing the future through thoughtful use of technology. The Enterprise is advised by Dr. Glen Archer.


Brian Flanagan Receives 2nd Place in 2017 Undergraduate Research Symposium

flanagan-PosterBrian Flanagan, a computer engineering major, was among the winners of the 2017 Undergraduate Research Symposium held on Friday, March 17 in the lobby of the Rozsa Center.

A record number of abstracts and posters were submitted this year – an astonishing 71 – representing every school or college on campus. Flanagan was awarded Second Place for his research on “The Effects of Uncertain Labels on Damage Assessment in Remotely Sensed Images”. Faculty advisor was Tim Havens, ECE and CS William and Gloria Jackson Associate Professor.

The annual Symposium is conducted by the Pavlis Honors College and highlights the amazing cutting-edge research being conducted on Michigan Tech’s campus by some of our best and brightest undergraduate students.


Olivia Burek awarded Carnahan Enterprise Scholarship

burek-oliviaThe Enterprise Governing Board and the School of Business Scholarship Committee has recently selected Olivia Burek to receive the Spring 2017 Carnahan Enterprise Scholarship. Burek is a double major in management and marketing. The selection was based on her strong application and essay communicating her role in Blue Marble Security Enterprise.

Burek will receive a $500 scholarship for the fall 2017 semester.


Fridays with Fuhrmann: Welcome Future Huskies!

FWF-image-20170317Our ability to make an impact on the lives of young people, and on economic development and workforce training in the state of Michigan and nationwide, depends critically on university efforts to spread the word about the value of a Michigan Tech education and to get students in the front door. Today I would like to acknowledge the outstanding work done by John Lehman, Associate Vice President for Enrollment and University Relations, Allison Carter, Director of Admissions, and their entire team of university recruiters who spend countless hours on the road attending high school college fairs, talking to students and high school counselors, and serving as our front line ambassadors for the university. We could not do our job if they did not do theirs, and they do it very well.

As you might imagine many of the efforts in the Office of Admission have to be coordinated with the academic departments such as ECE, where we hold meetings with prospective students and their families, make our own pitch about undergraduate programs in electrical and computer engineering, and give tours of our department facilities. The point of contact for student recruiting in the ECE Department is Judy Donahue, our EE Undergraduate Academic Advisor. Student recruiting has become a big part of Judy’s everyday workload and she does an absolutely fabulous job with it. We are fortunate to have Judy be the face of the ECE Department for so many students who are facing critically important decisions about their future. Judy gets a lot of valuable support from CpE Undergraduate Academic Advisor Trever Hassell, ECE Associate Chair Glen Archer and a cadre of cheerful and enthusiastic ECE students who help out with department tours, demonstrations, and phone campaigns.

The main event in the recruiting season this spring is Preview Day, which is tomorrow (Saturday, March 18). This is the day when we invite prospective students and their families to campus, and put on a big show at both the university and department levels. Part of the day takes place at a central location, the Memorial Union Ballroom, where all the academic departments have tables set up in an exhibit hall format, and folks can wander around to collect information and engage in conversation. Part of the day takes place in the departments themselves, where we stage tours and demonstrations, again with lots of help from our students. As usual Judy Donahue is coordinating all the efforts for the ECE Department. This year has turned out be unusual in the sense that we have a very large number of students signed up to tour the ECE Department, much more than in previous years. Some might call this situation a “success disaster” but it’s a good problem to have, and we can handle it. The large response this year might be dumb luck, but I like to think that it is a result of efforts by us and others, calling attention to all the career opportunities in electrical and computer engineering and the uniqueness of our community at Michigan Tech. We will be ready and are delighted to welcome so many future engineers!

One of the activities that supports student recruiting in the ECE Department is a design competition among current students that we call MasterpiECE Mania. I started this a few years ago, when I noticed that several academic departments had all sorts of cool gadgets and gizmos on their tables at recruiting events, and ECE did not have much to show other than paper handouts. I challenged the students to come up with interesting designs and products that don’t necessarily have to do anything useful, but are fun to look at or listen to, and show off the ingenuity of students in electrical and computer engineering. (Aside: “ingenuity” and “engineering” come from the same root in Latin “ingenium” so I guess that was redundant.) We use the winning entries in the larger recruiting events like tomorrow’s Preview Day. The competition itself is organized and run by our IEEE student branch, and this year our judging was just last night. I want to thank Chrissy Kaub, the IEEE student branch president, and her support team for making it happen this year; also I want to thank the ECE faculty who stepped up to serve as judges – Jeremy Bos, Roger Kieckhafer, and Warren Perger. We had nine entries. The winner came from the team of Nick Dubiel and Darren McCaul who created an electric arc audio speaker, where music is played using an electric arc between two high-voltage electrodes about an inch apart. If you are on the tour, you will see it (and hear it) tomorrow! Since we started this competition, I have been really impressed by the creativity and resourcefulness of our students, or at least a certain segment of them. It pains me to admit this, but I was never much of a tinkerer when I was a kid, so seeing what these students come up with is rather humbling!

Speaking of competitions, there is another big event on campus tomorrow night. The Michigan Tech Huskies men’s hockey team will be playing one game against the Bowling Green Falcons for the WCHA championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA Division 1 men’s hockey tournament. This is the first time that a WCHA championship game will be hosted at the MacInnes Ice Arena, and everyone around campus is pretty excited. I rented a skybox for the ECE Department so we will all be there having a big party and hopefully bringing home a Michigan Tech victory. Go Huskies!

– Dan

Daniel R. Fuhrmann
Dave House Professor and Chair
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Michigan Technological University


Fridays with Fuhrmann: Thank You Dave!

FWF-image-20170310Greetings to all from the road. I have been out of town for a little over a week, on a trip that combined a little bit of work and a little bit of vacation. Actually a lot of vacation. Last weekend and in the early part of this week I was in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, seeing if my skills in downhill skiing, developed over many evenings and weekends at Mont Ripley, would carry over to a larger – much larger – resort in the Rockies. I am happy to say that they did; I had a wonderful time! From what I can tell the average skill level at Mont Ripley is higher than what it was at Steamboat. That’s because a lot of the people who go to a faraway mountain resort are duffers like me who go there for vacation, and are not regular expert skiers. I felt right at home. I can also report that, after nine years in the U.P., my tolerance for cold seems to be higher than that of the average flatlander who goes to Colorado. That’s a good thing, because from what I understand I’ll be coming home to some of the coldest weather of the winter.

The work-related part of my trip took me out to the San Francisco Bay Area, which I often visit during spring break. It was there that I had the chance to visit Dave House, the namesake of the professorship I now hold and my mentor for the time I have been at Michigan Tech. I had both a private meeting with Dave, and I attended a Michigan Tech alumni event that Dave hosted at the tasting room for the small winery that is part of his beautiful home and property in Saratoga. The setting for the latter event has a stunning view of all of Silicon Valley, and was a perfect setting for the gathering of about 50-60 people. Dave and his wife Devyani were gracious hosts, keeping the conversations lively and providing some of the best food and wine in California. Everyone had a lovely evening.

Reflecting on this short trip this morning, I thought it would be a good time to acknowledge Dave for everything he has meant to Michigan Tech and to me personally. Dave is a 1965 graduate of the Michigan Tech EE Department. He began his career working on radar systems for Raytheon in the Boston area, where he completed an MS degree at Northeastern University. He later switched over to computer engineering, and moved to California to begin a long career at Intel where he moved up the ranks from hardware engineer, to engineering manager, and eventually to Vice-President reporting to the late Andy Grove. He was responsible for the “Intel Inside” campaign which made a household name of the otherwise invisible processing hardware that drives untold numbers of personal computers and laptops. After a couple of other high-visibility positions in Silicon Valley, Dave is now the Chairman of the Board of Directors at Brocade, a market leader in optical networking equipment.

What sets Dave apart from so many other successful innovators in Silicon Valley is his unwavering commitment to giving back to the institutions where he got his start, both Michigan Tech and Northeastern. He has been extraordinarily generous in terms of both his financial gifts, and more valuable still his gift of time and effort to move the institution forward. The professorship that I hold is one of four that he has endowed at Michigan Tech. Two of the others are held by the Dean of the College of Engineering and the Chair of the Department of Computer Science, respectively, and the fourth is split between Associate
Professors Wayne Weaver and Bo Chen. The professorships come with more than money; they come with regular advice and mentoring in management, leadership, and innovation for which Dave is an acknowledged master. When I first arrived at Michigan Tech, Dave and I spent the better part of a day together, going through what we jokingly refer to as “House
Training.” His efforts on behalf of Michigan Tech are not just for my benefit; he has worked hard with many other leaders at the university at all levels. His financial gifts go well beyond the professorships mentioned above; he is responsible for the founding of the Michigan Tech Research Institute in Ann Arbor, and he is providing support for visiting faculty in the newly formed Institute of Computing and Cybersystems. He was the Chairman of the Michigan Tech’s Generations of Discovery capital campaign that ran from 2006 to 2013 and raised over $215M for the university.

One of Dave’s goals over the past years has been to bring the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship one finds in Silicon Valley back to Houghton. These efforts including bringing teams of other executives and entrepreneurs from California to campus for meetings, panel discussions, and other events meant to raise awareness of where we need to be going, and to get feedback on who we are doing. Dave has been instrumental in instilling in many of us the importance of setting goals that are both meaningful and measurable. Many of his visits include “progress reports” where we get very specific about how we are doing relative to the metrics we are using to define success. The idea of such a goal-oriented approach to academics was new to me when I first arrived at this position, but now I find it perfectly natural and I can’t imagine doing business any other way.

Dave and I don’t always agree on everything, and sometimes he gives me a hard time when he thinks our progress is not what it ought to be, by our own standards. That’s the way it should be. There is always a good give and take, and he always lets you know where he stands.

Dave and I share a common vision: the best Michigan Tech that all of us working together can possibly create. I know I speak for many of us at Michigan Tech when I say: thank you Dave for everything you do!

Dan

Daniel R. Fuhrmann
Dave House Professor and Chair
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Michigan Technological University

p.s. while I am in the mood for thank-yous, let me add three others: 1) Tim Schulz, former ECE Department Chair and former Dean of the College of Engineering, who is responsible in large part for re-engaging Dave with Michigan Tech many years ago; 2) Gwen Caldwell, Dave’s very capable personal assistant whom I met for the first time last night and who has never been anything but perfectly friendly and professional, and finally 3) Adam Johnson, our unflappable and ultra-hip Michigan Tech “tour wrangler” for all the House-related activities on campus and in California.


Fridays with Fuhrmann: Spring Break

FWF-image-20170303-pic2Today is the Friday of Week 8 in the spring academic calendar, and last regular class day before spring break at Michigan Tech. Things are pretty quiet around campus, as many students and faculty members head out for a variety of activities elsewhere. At least, I assume that is the case: I am not on campus to observe, as I am on the road myself for a trip that is a little bit work and mostly vacation.

This day is a special one for me. It was on the Friday before spring break in 2008, nine years ago, that I first set foot on the Michigan Tech campus. Then-dean Tim Schulz picked me up at the airport late Thursday night, after his weekly hockey game, and dropped me off at the hotel; on Friday I spent the day on campus learning all about the ECE Department, and gave a technical seminar on my work on adaptive sensing. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this was where I wanted to be. Tim figured out how to push all my buttons. In addition to everything we did on campus, he arranged social events with people who would eventually become good friends, showing what a strong sense of community we have in our little town. He took me cross-country skiing on the Tech Trails, and we even went out to McLain State Park and walked around on Lake Superior ice! It must have been a colder winter than what we are having this year. Tim was a master recruiter and I have tried my best to follow his example in our faculty searches over the past nine years.

The halfway point in the semester (which was actually last week, not this one) means the conclusion of the course I teach, EE 1110 Essential Mathematics for Electrical Engineering. I sometimes struggle with balancing the competing responsibilities of teaching, research, and department administration, but on the teaching side I have found a good compromise by teaching this 1-credit course in a half-semester format. I stay in town in January and February, which is perfectly fine with me, and the second half of the semester is available for travel and other larger administrative tasks. This semester we had 144 students enrolled in EE1110, which makes it the largest course I have ever taught. With such a large class, I don’t get much of a chance to get to know many of the students personally, but I do enjoy taking a group of students with a diverse set of talents and abilities and doing what I can to get them ready for our regular EE curriculum. You’ll have to ask them if I was successful or not.

I am a big believer in the notion that, as a public institution, Michigan Tech has a responsibility to provide something of value to all our students, who come from all walks of life and all different levels of preparation and training. We don’t have the luxury of being ultra-selective, but I couldn’t be prouder of the job we are doing to prepare students for careers in engineering, whether they are class valedictorian or come from the middle of the pack in their high schools. I have designed EE1110 with this in mind. Students have three chances at the final exam. Some breeze through it on the first try, others study a bit more and are successful the second time. Some students need all three chances, and I don’t have a problem with that – I’m in favor of whatever they need to do to demonstrate mastery of the material before moving on.

With EE1110 behind me for this semester, I plan on spending time in March and April crafting our strategic goals and our strategic plan for achieving those goals. We do this on a three-year cycle, and this time I would like to have our plan in place before the start of the next academic year. The entire faculty will need to agree on the plan, so there will be a fair amount of discussion and wordsmithing before the final document is approved. I am optimistic this can be accomplished before the faculty go in all different directions in May. The biggest challenge will be doing this at the same time we are preparing for our ABET visit, which is coming up next fall. Never a dull moment!

The little bit of work alluded to in the first paragraph happens toward the end of next week, when I will be in California. The vacation part starts today. Happy spring break everyone!

– Dan

Daniel R. Fuhrmann
Dave House Professor and Chair
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Michigan Technological University


McGrath Receives Project GO Scholarship

McGrath-NatalieNatalie McGrath will be spending her summer in Narva, Estonia this year to further her studies in Russian language and culture.

Natalie was recently awarded a Project Global Officer (Project GO) scholarship through the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Russian and East European Studies. Project GO is a collaborative initiative with the Department of Defense aimed at improving the language skills, regional expertise, and intercultural communication skills of future military officers within all of the U.S. Armed Forces.

In just eight weeks, students cover the equivalent of one academic year of training in a designated critical language, as well as weekend excursions and cultural activities. Scholarship awardees receive full tuition for the 8-credit University of Pittsburgh language course, coverage of travel, lodging, and textbook costs, and a living stipend for meals.

Natalie is a second year computer engineering major in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and a member of the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at Michigan Technological University. She received a domestic Project GO scholarship in the summer of 2015 and studied first-year Russian at Indiana University in Bloomington.


Fridays with Fuhrmann: Engineers, Go Fourth

FWF-image-20170224This week is Engineers Week, a national celebration of all things engineering, and as you might imagine there are a number of activities going on around campus that raise awareness of the field (like we need that here) and generally give us the opportunity to feel good about who we are and what we do. Although the ECE Department does not take a lead role in organizing the week’s activities, various corners of the department such as the Blue Marble Security Enterprise are participating. This past Wednesday was also the date of the spring Career Fair, when companies and organizations come to campus to recruit our students for co-ops, internships, and full-time jobs. The spring fair is always smaller than the one in the fall, but with 219 recruiting organizations on campus it is still respectable by anyone’s standards. As usual, a lot of companies are looking to hire electrical engineers and computer engineers, a theme I have touched on many times before. This weekend the fun will continue with a student-organized and student-led hackathon called Winter Wonderhack. We expect a fair number of Michigan Tech students, some students for other universities in the region, and maybe a few high school students too, on campus showing off their chops in creativity and invention.

This seems like a good week to talk about where technology is going, and the role that an organization like the ECE Department can play. I recently read the book “The Fourth Industrial Revolution” by Klaus Schwab, and thought I would offer a few thoughts about it.

Schwab is the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, the annual meeting of world leaders in government and industry held in Davos, Switzerland. This meeting draws a lot of heavy hitters – including, sometimes, the President of the United States – and as a result it gets a fair amount of press. The theme of the 2016 WEF meeting was “Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution” and Schwab’s new book provides a succinct companion volume to that meeting. The concept of the Fourth Industrial Revolution has been around for a while, and I have even used it for several years in some of my own presentations to prospective high school students and first-year students at Tech. The promotion of the idea through the WEF brings it to a higher level of visibility in industry, government, and in the public imagination.

The basic idea is that human society has been through a series of transformative periods in our history, brought about by technological innovations, that each time have fundamentally altered the way we live and work. The First Industrial Revolution (the one often taught in high school as THE Industrial Revolution) occurred in the period from 1760 to 1840, and is characterized as the change from human and animal labor to mechanized work, exemplified by the steam engine. The Second Industrial Revolution occurred around the turn of the 20th century, with the rise of mass production and assembly lines, made possible by the widespread use of electrical power. It was during this time that “action at a distance” became commonplace – one could burn a lump of coal at one place and turn on a light somewhere else. Or, one could tap a key in a telegraph office and information would instantaneously appear 50 miles away. Or, with the aid of refrigeration, food could be grown on a farm and days or weeks later consumed in the city. The Third Industrial Revolution, in the 1960s and 1970s is associated with the rise of computers, and the use of computers to automate many manufacturing and information processing tasks.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is, at its core, all about connectivity. While computer technology developed rapidly in the latter part of the 20th century, the tasks being performed were tasks that we were already doing. In contrast, the connected nature of all the computers and sensors in the 21st century is fundamentally altering our daily lives – not only how we do things, but what we want to do in the first place. The Internet is largest and most visible of this movement, but in truth the Internet is only just the beginning of this revolution. Now we are moving into the era of the “Internet of Things” (IoT) or the “Internet of Everything” where all the objects and devices in our lives, whether for personal use or for business, manufacturing, or process control, will be connected through one vast network of sensing, communication, and control. “Cyber-physical systems” is a term used to describe the convergence of digital and physical technology that is happening alongside the IoT.

One of the aspects of the current industrial revolution, which sets it apart from the previous three, is the speed at which technology is developed and subsequently adopted. The Internet has gone from an academic curiosity to the primary engine of communication and commerce in the space of 20 years. Amazon was founded in 1994, Google in 1998. The first iPhone was introduced in 2007, and now there are an estimated 2 billion smartphones worldwide. AirBnB and Uber were unknown 5 years ago, and are now household names. Right now autonomous vehicles are the subject of vigorous research and development, but according to many enthusiastic (and optimistic) advocates they could be on the roads by 2021. Imagine the day when autonomous vehicles are as common, and as accepted as normal, as the smartphone is today!

Klaus devotes much of the book to the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as well he should. I imagine this is in keeping with the many discussions taking place at the World Economic Forum, as leaders grapple with all the implications of this revolution in their respective constituencies. I don’t have the space here to discuss all those implications at length, but I can say a few things about the impact on my own constituency: electrical and computer engineers at Michigan Tech. A good place to start is with the list of 23 “shifts”, as Klaus calls them in the appendix of the book, itself an outgrowth of a 2015 WEF survey report. These are the major technology trends associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and each associated with a “tipping point”, the point at which a technology moves from being a novelty to a necessity. They are:

1. Implantable Technologies
2. Our Digital Presence
3. Vision as the New Interface
4. Wearable Internet
5. Ubiquitous Computing
6. A Supercomputer in Your Pocket
7. Storage for All
8. The Internet of and for Things
9. The Connected Home
10. Smart Cities
11. Big Data for Decisions
12. Driverless Cars
13. Artificial Intelligence and Decision Making
14. AI and White-Collar Jobs
15. Robotics and Services
16. Bitcoin and the Blockchain
17. The Sharing Economy
18. Governments and the Blockchain
19. 3D Printing and Manufacturing
20. 3D Printing and Human Health
21. 3D Printing and Consumer Products
22. Designer Beings
23. Neurotechnologies

When I look at that list, and I cannot help but think – wow, there is a lot of work here for electrical and computer engineers. It is not exclusively ECE related technology, of course, but we will have our fingerprints all over it, probably more than any other discipline with the possible exception of computer science. This is precisely why I bring up the Fourth Industrial Revolution when speaking to young students with interests in STEM: this is what is coming, and the world needs you to make it happen.

I also notice in this list that, while on the surface it looks cheerful and optimistic, there are also a lot of technologies that could be subverted by those who seek to do harm to others. For this reason, cybersecurity will be a hugely important component of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. While he does not discuss security in the appendix, Schwab does cover it elsewhere, touching on the changing nature of conflict, cyber warfare, autonomous warfare, the militarization of space, and related topics.

The challenge for us in engineering education is to make sure that we are preparing students to enter this world. I see two complementary aspects to this. First, we must be certain that we continue to stress the fundamentals – after all, the laws of physics do not change (as I saw in an electronic product slogan tagline once, they are just more rigorously enforced.) Time spent learning the timeless truths of mathematics is never wasted. At the same time, we must be aware of these disruptive technologies and be certain that our students’ mastery of fundamentals is not diverted to the mastery of obsolete technology. We must also be certain that students have the skills, in the right proportion of depth and breadth, to be valuable not only for their expertise in a very narrow slice of technology but also for their broader understanding of the context for their expertise. For this reason, I am a believer in the “T-shaped” knowledge base that Robert Lucky alludes to in his column in the January 2017 issue of IEEE Spectrum – a deep specialty combined with broad understanding. Looking over Klaus’ list of 23, I would argue that, for our students, the horizontal arm of the T would encompass at least three major disciplines: electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and computer science. The vertical arm would be the particular specialty, which could dive deep into some sub-specialty within one of those three disciplines. I am convinced that someone with that combination would find a world of opportunity laid at their feet.

Klaus’ book is relatively short but it raises a lot of important points that can serve as the basis for many fruitful discussions. These are exactly the kinds of discussions that I hope that we will have here at Michigan Tech as we imagine our own future. After all, our informal slogan is “Create the Future” and that applies to the institution just as much as it does to our students. Institutions such as ours are the engine behind the Fourth Industrial Revolution and where it is headed is largely up to us. Will we be in the driver’s seat?

– Dan

Daniel R. Fuhrmann
Dave House Professor and Chair
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Michigan Technological University


ECE’s Microfabrication Facility launches new website

MFF_homepage Michigan Tech’s Microfabrication Facility, housed under the Department of Electrical and Computer, has launched its new website mtu.edu/microfabrication.

The Microfabrication Facility (MFF) consists of thin film, plasma etching, photolithography, and temperature processing equipment. MFF capabilities are broad and applicable to areas of biomedical engineering, chemistry, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, physics, materials science, and mechanical engineering. Deposition, sputtering, etching, and photolithography capabilities together with microcharacterization measurement systems enable precision device engineering.

The new site enables users to schedule reservations and check the live status of the MFF equipment, along with other user friendly features. MFFmenu

The MFF was also recently selected as a member of the Northern Nano Lab Alliance (NNLA), a regional network of university fabrication facilities. The mission of the NNLA is to help each member improve their support of academic research in applied nanotechnology.

MFF managing director Chito Kendrick, PhD, says “Being a member of the NNLA allows for a partnership with some of the local regional universities that have similar nano/micro fabrication facilities, and will indirectly expose Michigan Tech to the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI), which has replaced the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN). This opens up availability to systems that are currently not provided by the MFF. The partnership will also benefit the MFF staff with access to technical support and loaning equipment from the other groups; also we are exploring ways to reduce the operational costs of these facilities.”