Lancaster University

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Lancaster Hosts Big Event for Small Systems

10/10/2007 13:17:09

Delegates from the world of Micro and Nanosystems Engineering came to Lancaster University this month to attend an international showcase examining cutting edge developments in their field.

The four day showcase (sponsored by the European Network of Excellence in Design for Micro & Nano Manufacture and the Europractice Technology Access Initiative INTEGRAMplus) addressed both technical advances and commercialisation issues in this critically important field.

Delegates from the world of Micro and Nanosystems Engineering
Delegates from the world of Micro and Nanosystems Engineering
Photograph courtesy of Professor Roger Kemp

Micro and Nanosystems, together with the associated technological processes, could fuel the next industrial revolution, potentially replacing conventional systems with cheaper, more effective alternatives. Microsystems enable exceedingly small objects – those with dimensions in the range of a thousandth of a metre – to be integrated into miniature platforms that include silicon chips.

Microsystems Engineers are now working towards the design and manufacture of platforms able to integrate devices with even smaller dimensions - from the size of molecules up to 100s of nanometres. This will open the door to advances in diverse areas from molecular sensors for bio-medical and pharmaceutical applications to the next generation data storage devices.

Despite significant market expectations for a vast area of applications, many Microsystems still face key manufacturing challenges in guaranteeing stability, robustness and associated reliability within the target working environment.

The event encompassed major research organisations from across Europe and provided delegates with:

• A forum to assess advances in the Micro and Nanosystems field and learn about opportunities for uptake.

• Awareness of new funding opportunities.

• Solutions for accessing technologies, engineering services and business support; on both the academic and the industrial level.

Director of Lancaster University Centre for Microsystems Engineering, Professor Andrew Richardson, said: “The Micro & Nano Technology community has delivered some exciting advances over the past few years, the challenge for the engineering community is to build these advances into manufacturable systems that can provide added value to society. It is a major coup for Lancaster to be hosting an event of this profile.”

‘Design, Test & Manufacturing Technologies for Integrated Micro and Nano Systems’ ran from October 1st to 4th at Lancaster House, Lancaster.