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The State of MEMS in Israel (a site visit report)

The State of MEMS in Israel
A site visit report
May 24-25, 1999


Micro-electro-mechanical systems, referred to as MEMS in the US and ´´Microsystems´´ in Europe, is an explosively growing field in which microfabricated devices are being developed for a broad range of measurements, actuation, display and related functions. MEMS uses technologies developed for microeletronics and extended by additional processes, and is an important key in interfacing electronics to the non-electronic world.
MEMS is now in a highly innovative state of development, with new ideas emerging at a rapid pace.
While most efforts to date have involved mechanical devices and have given rise to the new field of micro-mechanics, other recent MEMS work has given birth to microfluidic components and to integrated optical systems. Both of these areas are rapidly becoming the focus for major worldwide efforts in their own right, opening up whole new fields of study and promising important commercial products.
With its already strong program in microelectronics, Israel is well-positioned for participation and growth in the field of MEMS .
The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities convened an international study group on MEMS that met in May 1999. This panel was asked three questions:
- What is the present state of MEMS in Israel?
- What is the recommendation of the Panel concerning the directions Israel should take to develop an excellent MEMS program?
- What resources will it take to execute the recommendation?
This report presents the answers to these questions, based on a workshop held on 24- 25 May, 1999, a site visit, a visit to the Technion and a visit with Prof. J. Ziv at the Israel Academy of Sciences.
A. General:
MEMS research should be continued and expanded in Israel.
B. Research areas:
- Specific areas within MEMS should be targeted 
- Establish an international peer review process in MEMS.
C. Facilities: 
- Infrastructure investments are needed at the university research centers  
- Core support for facilities is needed.
D. Personnel development 
- Additional faculty should be hired in the MEMS area.
- Promote opportunities for MEMS study abroad  
- Attract senior visiting faculty in MEMS 
- Encourage Israeli participation in international conferences 
- Organize topical tutorials and or short courses in Israel on MEMS.
E. Incentives 
- Establish a multi-site national Center of Excellence in MEMS 
- Establish productive links with industry 
- An information infrastructure is needed.
F. Regional opportunities
- Exploit Israel´s participation in the Fifth Framework Program for the European Union 
- Position Israel as the regional center of MEMS in the Middle East.
G. ResourcesIt was not possible, within the short time available, to make detailed cost estimates for the various infrastructural improvements and programmatic requirements. However, estimates were made for the needs of the Technion in both equipment improvement and maintenance costs; and the Tel Aviv University presented a proposal with detailed cost estimates.
Related publications: ד´´ר יוסי סגל