School of Engineering Sciences (SES), University of Ghana – SES Seminar Series – Second Semester 2020/2021, September 02, 2021
Topic: Micro and Nanosystems: An Enabling Key Technology for the 21st Century
Speaker: Prof. Michael Kraft, Professor of Nanomaterials, MNS/ESAT, KU Leuven, Belgium
Chairperson: Prof. Abu Yaya, Ag. Dean, SES, University of Ghana
Date: Thursday, September 02, 2021
Time: 10:00am – 11:30 am
Venue: SES Conference Room
Micro- and Nanosystems (MNS) are undoubtedly an enabling key technology for the 21st century, as they can contribute to solutions for practically all grand societal challenges humanity is facing, such as sustainable growth, mobility, environmental problems, in particularly climate change, health and renewable energy. This fascinating and multidisciplinary research field will certainly strongly grow over the next years and already represents an important economic factor. The presentation aims to introduce activities at KU Leuven revolving around Micro- and Nanosystems and discuss a variety of projects that researchers and I have worked on over the last decade or are currently working on. They cover the full breadth from blue sky research to commercially viable research and development, and can be broadly classified into three themes:
- High performance micro-sensors: Here, the main focus is on novel approaches for physical sensors and transducers based on silicon on insulator technology (SOI), for example mechanical amplification for high-performance inertial sensors, piezoelectric micromachined ultrasound transducers, genetic algorithm as a new design tool for MNS and using “intelligent” system integration for micromechanical physical sensors.
- Microtechnology for bio-chemical and bio-medical applications: Coupled resonators are described which are, among others, a promising approach for biochemical mass sensing. Work on innovative packaging concepts for implantable pressure sensors is discussed and a multi-parameter sensor chip for measurements in bio-reactors will be presented. A further focus lies on massively parallel electrode arrays for recording neuroactivities in the brain.
- MNS for Blue Sky Research: Magnetic and electrostatic levitation of micro- and nano-participles can be used to realise a variety of promising and novel sensors and actuators, for example a spinning disk multi axis inertial measurement unit or a micromirror with high scanning range. Atom- and ion-chips are quantum labs on a chip and allow the direct manipulation of neutral atoms or ions trapped in magnetic or electrostatic fields. This can potentially enable an entirely new class of sensors based on, for example, atom-interferometry.
Prof. Michael Kraft studied at the Friedrich Alexander University in Erlangen, Germany obtaining an MSc degree in Electrical Engineering in 1993. He then chose to explore the world, pursuing a PhD at Coventry University, UK from 1994 to 1997 and later joined the University of California at Berkeley, USA as a Postdoctoral Researcher for two years. In 2000, he returned to the UK and worked for 13 years at the University of Southampton, where he became a Professor in 2008 and also served as a Director of the then newly established Southampton Nanofabrication Centre from 2010 to 2012. In 2012, he returned home and joined the Fraunhofer Institute in Duisburg, Germany. He concurrently headed the Department for Micro and Nanosystems and held a professorship at the University of Duisburg-Essen. In 2015, he joined the University of Liege for a stint and thereafter accepted an offer from the ESAT Department at University of Leuven, which he joined in October 2017 as a Professor. He has headed the newly founded ESAT Research Division Micro and Nanosystems (MNS) of the same University since September 2020.