Masdar Institute’s Microsystems Engineering Program Equips Students with Expertise to Develop Abu Dhabi’s High-tech Sector

Abu Dhabi: Masdar Institute of Science and Technology has announced that its Microsystems Engineering Master’s program adequately equips students to contribute to developing the high-technology sector in Abu Dhabi.

The Microsystems Engineering program provides students with the fundamental knowledge, skills and training necessary for successful careers in industrial or academic roles that build upon and extend semiconductor device and integrated circuit technology. It offers four key streams – circuits, devices, and photonics, with micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS) beginning in the upcoming fall, covering diverse aspects of high-technology areas that remain top priority for Abu Dhabi’s long-term development goals.

The first batch of students graduated from the Microsystems Engineering program and received their Master’s degrees at the May 2012 commencement ceremony. The program has also contributed a sizeable portion of the total awarded research projects during 2011.

A 12-strong highly qualified faculty team specialized in various segments of this subject guides students in research areas including circuits and electronic devices, photonics and optoelectronic devices, and electronic-photonic-mechanical integrated circuits. The core courses of the program include micro/nano processing technology, digital systems laboratory, integrated microelectronic devices, and advanced signal processing.

One of the objectives of Masdar Institute is to develop a talent pool of home-grown and indigenous professionals to help transform Abu Dhabi into a regional and global center in advanced energy and sustainable technologies. But more specifically, the Microsystems Engineering program for microelectronics, helps drive leading edge research and education both into existing and new directions. It covers areas ranging from state-of-the-art integrated circuit fabrication and foundry technology to novel device concepts, providing new capabilities, to circuits and systems bringing new functionality and capability for critical industrial and global needs including energy and medical technologies.

Dr. Marwan K. Khraisheh, Dean of Engineering at Masdar Institute, said: “Our Master’s programs are designed to promote the individual capabilities of the students, who will in turn contribute to the development of clean, advanced and sustainable technologies internationally and more specifically in the GCC region. A number of students from the 2011 graduating class have found job placements in countries such as the US and Germany, adequately bearing testimony to the world class education that is offered at Masdar Institute.”

“Microsystems engineering is one of the most promising sectors that will significantly facilitate the growth of the high-technology sector in Abu Dhabi as directed by the country’s leadership. We are confident more students from the UAE and across the world will take advantage of the opportunities we provide at the research-driven institution.”

According to Mihail Roco, Editor-in-Chief of the journal of Nanoparticle Research, a senior advisor at the National Science Foundation of the US, and founding chair of the US National Nanotechnology Initiative established in 1999, the nanotechnology market is already rapidly emerging. In a prediction in 2005, Roco said that the market for nanotechnology-enabled products would reach US$1 trillion by 2015. According to him, the market has already reached about US$300 billion with an annual growth rate of 25pc per year in 2010-2011.

Some of the state-of-the-art laboratories the students of Microsystems Engineering program at Masdar Institute gain access to include the micro-fabrication lab, microscopy and analysis lab, digital systems lab and individual faculty labs. These laboratories offer students access to some of the technologically advanced equipment to conduct their research.

Dr Michael Perrott, Professor – Microsystems Engineering, Masdar Institute, said: “The Microsystems Engineering program offers a challenging but rewarding experience which prepares students for careers in analog and digital circuit design as well as research and development of new electronic, photonic, and MEMS devices. The Master’s program is designed to provide students with broad exposure to all of these areas, and to also gain specific skills in the area of their choice through elective classes and a cutting edge research project.

Our goal is to enable our students to develop new designs and techniques which will transform the areas of data communication, health, sensors, and embedded systems.” Initiated with funding from the Abu Dhabi Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC), the Masdar Institute Microsystems Engineering program offers career avenues in analog/digital electronic system design as well as research and development of advanced electronic, photonic, and MEMS devices.