Award for Excellence in Microsystems Fabrication


The Excellence in Microsystems Fabrication award recognizes outstanding research involving hands-on work at one or more fabrication laboratories in a post-secondary institution in Canada or devices fabricated using commercial foundry services through CMC. The successful competitor will have demonstrated high– quality work in use of techniques for micro-nano fabrication, including layout design, testing, packaging, and assembly. 

Priority will be given to submissions related to emerging technologies in the following categories:  

  • MEMS: capacitive MEMS, piezo-MEMS, magnetic MEMS, optical MEMS, microfluidics and bio-MEMS, etc.
  • Microelectronics: use of substrates (planar CMOS, SiGe, BiCMOS, SOI, FinFET, GaN, InPh, InAlN, SiC, SiGe, flexible substrates, etc.); post-processing of custom/commercial wafers for new applications; heterogenous integration of material/ substrates; printed electronics; thin film transistors; creation of new nanostructures, 2D material etc. 
  • Photonics: planar lightwave circuits (PLCs) made from Si, SiN, or other materials, III-V multi-quantum well devices, fibre-based devices, thin-film devices, Silicon Photonics, etc. 
  • Quantum: superconducting devices, quantum dots, graphene, quantum sensing and communication devices, nanomechanics devices, etc. 

This award is open to graduate students of a Canadian university. Winners are strongly encouraged to use prize funds to support education or training related to micro-nanosystems R&D. Prize funds may be applied to the cost of attending a conference or workshop or visiting a lab or other technical facility inside or outside of Canada. 

Judges, Judging Criteria

The judging panel will consist of three representatives from Canadian industry, academia, and non-for-profit organizations. The judges assess each competitor and select the demonstration that best meets the following criteria: 

  • Achieves technical success with a functional device outcome.
  • Demonstrates originality or innovation in the approach to the problem.
  • Demonstrates a disciplined approach to process design and an understanding of process integration. Practices can include but are not limited to, design of experiments, process simulation, and chip design.
  • Demonstrates understanding of the role of manufacturability aspects, such as design-for-test, design for manufacturability, metrology, yield analysis, and process control.
  • Duly considers the role of packaging and/or integration and the interaction of these processes with the fabricated components.
  • Effectively uses lab capabilities, considering potential use of toolsets from multiple labs or service providers, or a combination of hands-on fabrication, commercial fabrication and lab services. The research objectives pursued by custom fabrication could not have been readily achieved otherwise.
  • The technology leads to new scientific discovery or advances the manufacturability, yield, performance, cost effectiveness relative to the state of the art.
  • Documentation of the design or fabrication process facilitates retention of knowledge and transfer of knowledge.
  • If using a lab facility at an academic institution, Lab user(s) works effectively with lab staff to maximize efficiency of the research and likelihood of success.
  • If using a commercial foundry, the technology/application shows commercial potential that leads to societal benefit. Industry collaboration in the work is viewed favourably.
  • Explanation of the background information or theory in a form understandable to one’s peers. 
  • Clarity of explanation of key technical points. 
  • Fluency in explanation, interplay between those making the presentation. 
  • Humour, flair, originality. 
  • Smooth recovery from an unexpected problem. 
  • Quality and effectiveness of visual/written materials. 
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