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Berkeley Sensor & Actuator Center (BSAC)

University of California Berkeley

University of California Davis

Last Reviewed: (not done)

The Phase III NSF I/UCRC on MEMS & NEMS sensors, actuators, materials, processes, and systems.


Center Mission and Rationale

This Industry/University Cooperative Research Center, founded in 1986 as the National Science Foundation Center for Microsensors and Microactuators, and “Graduated” as a self-sufficient I/UCRC in 2009,  is devoted to interdisciplinary engineering research on micro- and nano-scale sensors, moving mechanical elements, microfluidics, materials, and processes that take advantage of progress made in integrated-circuit, bio, and polymer technologies.

Goals of BSAC:

(1) Create a leadership microsystems research environment. Combine the best researchers, faculty, and industrial partners. Bind them through the collective appeal of top rank University resources, an environment of collaboration, and access to a diverse group of Industrial members who are usually current or future market leaders in their segments.

(2) Enhance the educational experience of our graduate students.

(3) Reduce the time to commercialization of BSAC research by Industrial  Members and entrepreneurial researchers by establishing systematic progress in multiple phases of new technology formation: a)materials/process/packaging; b)devices and structures; and c)system integration. This strategy requires a broader range of projects and a larger research organization than most research consortia would be able to maintain.

(4) Maintain collaboration with Industrial Members to insure commercial relevancy of the research.

Research program

BioMEMS & Microfluidics

  • Immunosensors
  • Single Cell Analysis,Manipulation and Probing
  • SERS & Plasmonic BioImaging
  • Micro Total Analysis Systems uTAS
  • DNA Transformations
  • Cell Cryropreservation
  • Optoelectronic Transport & Tweezers
  • Microvalves and fluidic flow control
  • Micropumps & Capillary Pump Loop
  • Particulate air monitoring
  • Flow Sensors


Nanoplasmonics, Nanophotonics, Imaging

  • Plasmonics and Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy SERS
  • Polymer, printed & Microfluidic tuneable optical lenslet arrays
  • Optical switches and planar lightwave MEMS
  • Optoelectronic Cell Sorting, Transport & Tweezers
  • Adaptive Optics


Nanotechnology & Nanoengineering

  • Development of nanostructure fabrication technology
  • Nanomagnetics
  • CMOS Integrated Nanowires/Nanotubes
  • Active fabrics
  • Conformal Photovoltaics


Physical Sensors & Devices

  • Silicon MEMS actuators: comb, electro-thermal, and plastic deformation
  • Precision electronic sensing and measurements of capacitive, frequency, and coulombic MEMS variables
  • Structures and architectures for gyroscopes, accelerometers, micro strain gauges for direct application to rigid structures e.g., steel, and levitated MEMS


Process, Packaging, Microassembly

  • Low temperature MEMS-on-CMOS Silicon-Germanium or Aluminum Nitride or Metal MEMS on CMOS  processes for adding MEMS to finished CMOS wafers or dice.
  • Silicon Carbide process for adverse environment MEMS and high frequency RF resonators.
  • Localized bonding: eutectic, fusion, solder, laser, inductive, rapid thermal processing, and ultrasonic; suitable for device level or wafer level packaging or sealing applications to plastic, glass, silicon and Bio materials, including liquid encapsulation.
  • Fluidic microassembly for post-process combining of dissimilarly processed microdevices.
  • Encapsulation processes for wafer level packaging of MEMS.
  • Stiction mitigation for MEMS.


Wireless, RF, & Smart Dust

  • Tuneable RF components: capacitors, inductors, transformers
  • Resonator-based RF front ends for multi-band & cognitive wireless radios
  • MEMS resonators: devices, structures, circuits, and processes
  • Open Wireless Sensor Network Project (Protocols and Systems)


Special Activities

Facilities and Laboratory

The Marvell Nanolab at UC Berkeley is 3rd generation University semiconductor/MEMS research fabrication faciity brought on-line in 2011. It's 15,000 square feet of class 100/1000 cleanroom containing $25Million of specialized equipment serves 350 users including 80 industrial users. BSAC is the largest user of the nanolab. It is operated 100% through recharge to users (no public or government operating funds).


University of California Berkeley

656 Sutardja Dai Hall #1764

Berkeley, California, 94720-1764

United States

University of California Davis

1 Shields Avenue
2016 Bainer Hall

Davis, California, 95616-5294

United States