As the technology used in communication systems continues to push boundaries, the field of RF MEMS research advances with it. This ever-evolving sector provides great opportunities for expansion and innovation which is why the IMT-Bucharest research facility has harnessed FP7 Regional Potential programme funding to establish a European Centre of Excellence in MEMS research.
“The presence of the MIMOMEMS Centre of Excellence will have a major impact on creating co-operation activities with the new high-tech industry that is developing in Romania,” says Dr Alexandu Muller, the project coordinator. “The centre will undoubtedly continue to further facilitate and strengthen common projects throughout the region and beyond.”
According to Dr Muller, the Centre of Excellence has so far produced “state-of-the-art results” in the proposed scientific topics supported by the MIMOMEMS project, and has contributed to the strong international co-operation which was another target in the project’s proposal for funding.
“The Centre is having a major impact on creating co-operation activities with research and industrial partners across Europe. And contacts for further co-operation with Romania’s emerging high-tech industry have also been established,” he says
MIMOMEMS has helped establish closer working relationships between IMT-Bucharest and its twinning partners – the Laboratory for Analysis and Architecture of Systems in Toulouse, France, and the Institute for Electronic Structure and Laser at the Foundation for Research and Technology in Heraklion, Greece. Consequently, it has provided IMT with opportunities to invite experts from other international institutions to engage in discussions on the future of MEMS research.
“Through MIMOMEMS, we have developed collaborative relationships and exchanges with other research institutes, facilitated scientific and strategic workshops, and disseminated our work through peer-reviewed journals and our own project website,” Dr Muller adds.
“Bringing together a number of research bodies at the forefront of this field, MIMOMEMS has demonstrated the importance of working with innovative and influential partners.
“Some of the benefits we have already seen include the setting up of a strong multi-disciplinary research team with complementary competences and facilities, the creation of opportunities to participate collaboratively in FP7 proposals and the sharing with partners of contacts with industry,” he explains.
To facilitate this co-operation and collaboration with its international partners, IMT-Bucharest needed to improve the quality of research activity at the Institute in line with the highest European standards and provide support to the development of MEMS technologies for industrial application. This has been achieved through the upgrading of the research infrastructure and equipment of IMT’s microwave, photonics and technology laboratories through a combined programme of FP7 and national funding.
“Upgrading the research equipment was very important,” says Dr Muller. “Through these improvements, MIMOMEMS has contributed to increasing the competitiveness of IMT as a reliable European partner in micro- and nanotechnologies.
“The microwave laboratory of IMT has been upgraded to a very high level compared with similar institutions from Western Europe,” he acknowledges. “The same can also be said about the microphotonics lab.”As well as the establishment of scientific partnerships and collaborations, the improved facilities and level of research activity have led to newly formed connections with industry and to IMT’s involvement in four European Nanoelectronics Initiative Advisory Council (ENIAC) projects, working together with partners such as NXP Thales TRT, Volvo on diverse initiatives ranging from sensors for poisonous gases to true ground-speed measurements for SUV cars.