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Tanner Laboratories: Your MEMS R&D Partner

At Tanner Laboratories, we provide low cost MEMS prototyping services to our government, academic, and commercial partners. We have an in house clean room (300 sq ft. class 100 litho bay and two class 1000 bays; total area ca. 1100 sq ft.) fully staffed with scientists and engineers spanning a broad range of discipline (traditional and non-traditional MEMS, CMOS design, modeling and control systems).


Download the Tanner MEMS Overview

Our customers range from small start-ups to multi-billion dollar companies who require custom MEMS consulting on process trade-offs and then validating our process designs our in-house MEMS fab. We have developed a range of MEMS devices from DNA sorters (micro-fluidics) to accelerometers (inertial sensing). The LABS division at Tanner is able to provide custom ASIC electronics and readout circuitry for MEMS devices as well. While, we do not publicize our current commercial projects and clients, we are able to disclose some of our government funded R&D in the sections below.

Public Devices Examples of our Work

Bulk Metallic Glass(BMG) inertial sensors: Recently with the Schroers’ group at Yale University, we have demonstrated the first surfaced micromachined electrostatic sensors and actuators. The lossless nature of amorphous glass also allows unprecedented performance for wine glass gyros (pictured on left).

Microfluidics: We are experts in creating multi-level fluidic structures in polymers such as Parylene and SU-8. Parylene allows multi-layers fluidics as well as the ability to create flexible sensor skins(see above). SU-8 enables structures as tall as 300+ microns which can serves as wells for chemicals. Our customers have used these devices for mass spectrometry, cell sorting, pumping, and pressure measurements.

Electrowetting: With our Keck team members we have fabricated embedded hydrophobic electrodes and circuitry that enable user controlled motion of liquid droplets. This control of small liquid volumes is used for chemistry and biological applications. (Videos courtesy Keck Graduate Institute/Tanner Research)

MEMS Particle Transportation System: The ability to transport and manipulate particles in air is desirable in many instruments such as airborne particle samplers, particle sorters, and electrostatic particle-cleaning apparatuses. There are many different ways to transport particles larger than 10 ?m such as forced air jets, centrifuges and other mechanical means. However for particles ranging from 1 to 10 ?m, there is still no efficient way to transport them because complex surface forces, instead of gravitational force, dominate. This attribute has long been a bottleneck for the development of automated airborne pollutant samplers for biological spores, dust particles, and chemical agents because their sizes fall into the 1-10 ?m range. We demonstrate here an electrostatic MEMS system capable of transporting particles 5-10?m in diameter in air.

Printed Circuit Board(PCB) MEMS: We think out of the box for our customers. While MEMS devices are typically made on silicon and glass, we have developed a MEMS low temperature process that allows us to create actuation structures on PCBs.

Optical Communications: Tanner Labs has also developed with MOICS (MEMS-based Optical Identification and Communication System), a technology that could provide secure communication between an interrogator and a compact, lightweight, and robust remote unit. The key component is the micro-cornercube reflector (CCR) on the remote unit. Some videos of the device in operation are shown above.

Clean Room Process Equipment

  • PR Spinner
  • Contact Mask aligner (upto 8" wafers, front side and back side alignment; ca. 0.5 um registration)
  • Hot plates, ovens, ultrasound baths
  • Fume hoods for acids, bases, and solvents
  • Sputtering (3 gun RF magnetron; upto 8" wafers)
  • DRIE (STS, upto 6” wafers)
  • Parylene deposition system
  • Micro RIE

Customer Profile

  • Government: DoD, NIH, NASA
  • Academic: (Caltech)
  • Commercial: early stage MEMS/biotech startups & mainstream MEMS adopters looking to highly leverage their investment resources.

Tanner Labs has relationships with MEMS/NEMS consultants
for specialty services as well
SmallTech Consulting, LLC is a company that specializes in MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) and Nanotechnology, including technical, intellectual property and technology strategy challenges, and due diligence evaluations.
High quality thin films for Semiconductor, Biotechnology, Nanotechnology, and MEMS.
Tanner Laboratories utilizes the MEMS design tools developed and sold by our Tanner EDA division. For information on the features and capabilities of MEMS Design tools from Tanner EDA, please visit their website.

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