田中秀治研究室 ~Student Page~

MEMS 2018 Conference

By Chenzhong Shao (D3)

The 31st MEMS conference was held in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, from January 21st to 25th, 2018. Flying from Sendai to Belfast was not an easy task for me. Due to lack of experience, I booked 3 aircrafts which are from Sendai to Seoul, from Seoul to London and from London to Belfast. Among them, the flight from Seoul to London took 12 hours. Staying in a plane for such a long time made me feel very uncomfortable. Fortunately, in-flight meals were delicious.

In-flight meal

The place I lived in Belfast was an apartment booked through Airbnb. When I arrived in Belfast at 9am January 21st, the hospitable host came to pick me up, showed me around and let me check in 5 hours before the schedule. After sleeping several hours, I had to get up to go to the conference location for completing my volunteer assignments in the evening to receive the Student Travel Support provided by the Transducer Research Foundation. My assignment was checking badges in Welcome Reception. My partner in the assignment came from the laboratory in which Hayasaka-san is studying, which was such a coincidence. After the assignment, I went back to the apartment immediately, but jet lag made it difficult for me to fall asleep.

Welcome Reception held in Belfast City Hall

In January 22nd, the presentation part of the 31st MEMS conference started. The conference was held in the Belfast Waterfront which was voted the second best conference centre in the world in the Apex Awards in 2002. I spent most of my time in this nice building during the next 3 and half days, and learned a lot, not only the specific knowledge, but also the way how the top researchers in the field make their presentation. This conference greatly broadened my horizons.

Belfast Waterfront (the left bottom and the right pictures are provided by Prof. Yutaka Nonomura)

In this conference, Prof. Shuji Tanaka was announced to be elected to IEEE fellow. Congratulations!

Announcement (this picture is provided by Prof. Yutaka Nonomura who has a very nice camera)

On the evening of January 24th, we had a Conference Banquet in the Titanic Belfast. Belfast city is famous for building the RMS Titanic ship. The Titanic Belfast tells the stories of the ill-fated Titanic, which hit an iceberg and sank during her maiden voyage in 1912. However, at that time, I was very sleepy and cannot enjoy the banquet. Such a pity.

Conference Banquet in Titanic Belfast

During the conference, I also walked around near the conference location. Belfast is a very compact city which you can traveled around on foot. The host of my apartment likes this city very much, so do I. This city is perfect for running, and it is really dark before 8am and after 4pm in winter.

After 5 days' stay in Belfast, I had to say goodbye to this beautiful and peaceful city. Joining this conference was a wonderful journey and experience for me. I will come back to this city in a summer.

Belfast city


MEMS has evolved over three decades meanwhile, starting from the automotive field, via applications in the consumer electronics area and the Internet-of-Things, and most recently into medical and molecular diagnostic applications [1].

In the consumer electronics area, I listened to a presentation in which a new type of switchable liquid shutter was proposed for the security and design of mobile devices [2]. The operation of the shutter is achieved by shifting an opaque liquid (conductive) and a transparent ambient liquid (insulating), based on electrowetting-on-dielectric (EWOD) actuation. In this device, patterned ITO was used as electrodes. They used Parylene-C and Cytop as the insulating layer and the hydrophobic layer, respectively. PMMA spacers were used to form the liquid chamber, and the periphery of the chamber was sealed using UV-curing resin for hermetic packaging. The response time of the liquid shutter is found to be 600 ms and 350 ms for opening and closing the shutter, respectively at 70 Vrms. The operation of the liquid shutter mounted on a smartphone was successfully demonstrated, as a proof of concept.

As for the medical diagnostic application, I listened to a presentation about an innovative integrated microfluidic platform which allows an ultra-rapid detection of mycotoxins [3]. The simultaneous detection of aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), deoxynivalenol (DON) and ochratoxin A (OTA), within their respective regulatory limits is achieved in a single step within 60 s, by combining an array of thin-film photosensors (a-Si:H photodiode) and a disposable microfluidic device. The microfluidic devices were fabricated using standard PDMS mold replication techniques. This platform can potentially be the basis of portable tools allowing routine and cost-effective on-site screening of mycotoxin contamination by non-specialized personnel.

Microdroplet-based systems provide low-cost and high-throughput biological assays or medical diagnosis. The speaker of a presentation demonstrated, for the first time, microdroplet generation, transport and merging inside a synthetic microfluidic paper (SMP) substrate consisting of a three-dimensional porous matrix [4]. The free-standing SMP was fabricated in an Off-Stoichiometry-Thiol-Ene (OSTE) polymer. Slanted and interlocked micropillar structures in SMP were formed in the OSTE by 4-directional lithography by reflecting vertically collimated UV light to angles of 60° using 4 aluminum mirrors. This work introduces a new platform for the microfluidic generation and manipulation of droplets in paper.

Today MEMS innovation happens mainly on the system and product level [1]. In this conference, I found some technology innovation in the consumer electronics area and in the medical diagnostic application which are away from classical silicon MEMS sensors.

[1] F. Laermer, MEMS, pp. 237-240, 2018.
[2] J. Lee et al., MEMS, pp. 14-16, 2018.
[3] R. R. G. Soares et al., MEMS, pp. 6-9, 2018.
[4] H. Yasuga et al., MEMS, pp. 269-271, 2018.






1mm2以下の面積に40の光源を配置したリコーの40チャンネルVCSEL http://jp.ricoh.com/technology/tech/038_vcsel.html





株式会社リコー 応用電子研究所の皆様、この度は貴重な機会を与えていただき、ありがとうございました。


Tanaka-sensei's birthday party

It was the month of august and I had no idea that my sensei’s birthday was close. Honestly I had never celebrated my sensei’s birthday before. Even though I have been in this lab for a year and half yet I never thought of asking about it either (it’s strange!! my mistake). It was Khan who came up with the idea. When he told me, “let’s celebrate our sensei’s birthday,” I was surprised. I asked myself if we could actually do that; he said, “Yes, of course!” (Khan compared to me is senior in our Lab. He worked in our lab couple of years ago and now has joined for a second time).
I was super excited and told him that we have to do it but! It has to be a real surprise. Tanaka sensei shouldn’t feel any thing suspicious going on or that someone tells him about it. So we agreed to keep it a secret. (this was one week before our sensei’s birthday), only I, him and Nguyen knew about it. The problem though was that our sensei on his birthday had a business trip and he wasn’t going to be in the lab. Our plan was about to fail! We thought about it then we came up with a new plan. We decided to organizing it on the day of Danwakai (our Lab meeting); in the same week of his birthday. Mostly every body then would be there and it wouldn’t interrupt any body’s work because it was weekend. We knew it was going to be a little bit delayed from the actual date but from an other perspective it was the perfect day. Now to keep things secretive, we had to keep quite and not tell any body in our lab about it till the day of the party. We had to prepare everything beforehand because on the day of party we had Danwakai, a meeting that we couldn’t skip). So we decide to go shopping from Costco (a big supermarket, that sells a lot of goods at reasonable prices especially pastries, 20km from Sendai).
We wanted to go on Friday night, the night before the party but the problem was that how were we going to store the cake that night as the cake would be big. So we went shopping that night at around 7pm and bought the cake and some drinks (we also had pizza and some ice cream as we wanted to have fun that night). When we returned to Sendai afterward and measured the size of the cake, it seemed it wouldn’t fit neither in my fridge nor the Khan’s, so we called a friend who had a bigger fridge. We went to his place, tried to fit cake in his fridge but that didn’t work either . It was a big problem for us, the cake would get ruined if we didn’t cool it during the night. The only solution we could think of so far was to buy some ice and put the cake in a box filled with ice during the night so the cake would stay intact so that’s what we did. I took the cake with me that night, put some ice cubes in the kitchen sink, lay the cake there (the cake was already covered with plastic) and covered the sink. I slept that night well, woke up in the morning, loaded the car with drinks and cake and drove to our university. The plan that morning was to let every body go upstairs to the meeting room and before the end of the meeting we were to unload the car and prepare the party. We attended the meeting that morning as usual and acted that nothing was going on. Before the last presentation (we usually have 4 presentations in each Donwakai), we went downstairs to our lab and tried to act fast. We set the table and the chairs. We put the cake in the middle with some candles (we had only 7 candles so we decorated them on the cake but it didn’t make sense!! everybody later asked what did seven signify?). Then we surrounded the table with coke cans ( the drinks we actually bought were coke cans and green tea), small paper plates and spoons. The room at that moment was missing the surprise element; it was the birthday message that we wanted our sensei to see first when he entered the room. We had printed “Happy birthday Tanaka sensei” on 4 A4 papers and had hanged them on a movable white board. We gave a final check to everything and we went back to the meeting.


Now before the final task we had to inform everybody in the room about the party without letting Tanaka sensei finding out. I had an idea. I asked Fromel sensei for a piece of paper (as he was taking some notes during the meeting using a note book), I wrote a small message telling everybody that today we are celebrating our sensei’s birthday after the meeting but they have to keep quite and try to surprise Tanaka sensei afterwards. Each one read the paper and passed it to the person next to him. All of them read the paper secretly but our sensei. (I was wondering if he had seen some people reading the paper or had sensed something going on especially when the paper reached the first row where he was sitting with rest of the sensei). After the meeting we all packed, set the meeting room back as it was before our meeting and went downstairs, trying to beat Tanaka sensei to the Lab and arrive before him.
We arrived in our lab, turned off the light and started waiting.


Tanka sensei took some time to arrive actually so Khan went out to check on him. He immediately returned in hurry and said ‘’he’s coming, he’s coming. The moment Tanaka sensei opened the door and entered we turned the lights on and everyone said “Surprise!!!”. He really got surprised, then laughed. He was so happy to see that. He didn’t expect it at all (we were also so happy to see him getting surprised). We sang the birthday song for him and he came up to blow off the candles and as expected he asked about the candles’ number. He said that it wasn’t related to his age or something else.


We explained to him that they were all what we had so we used them. He blew over the candles and every body clapped. The cake was big and it wasn’t obvious how to cut it. So the girls Nguyen and Thao helped him for that.


We were supper hungry; by then it was almost 1 pm and no body had taken his lunch. They cut us big pieces, I was glad they did that and almost all of us finished the cake, it was delicious. Our sensei gave us a small speech afterwards. He said he was really surprised by the party and was very happy. He thanked everybody for the day and said he appreciated everything. We had so much fun that day. Members of our lab were hanging out, every body was happy for Tanaka sensei.


I admit that we have attended other parties before in our lab as we usually celebrate different occasions like welcoming new members to our lab or at the graduation of other member but this one was special. This one was the first time that we celebrated something that concerns our sensei. So it felt special. The thing that we didn’t prepare thought was the presents but we decided that next time we would try to make a better plan because there will be a next time for sure. We have already decided to redo it next year hopefully on the exact date of our sensei’s birthday and also have to think about an element of surprise because we know that next time our sensei will suspect things and when he reads my blog he will definitely know (Let’s see how it goes next year!).



Hello. This is Satoru Akita, M1 student.
I report about "science cafe" held at Sendai Media Work on August 25th last month.


Science cafe is a lecture sponsored by Tohoku University to "make learning more familiar and more fun". Every month the university researchers talk about their research to the general public, the science café in the science field, and the liberal arts field as the liberal arts salon. (Some past lectures are posted on Youtube.)

Last month Professor Tanaka, who is our laboratory leader gave a lecture.
The theme is "Small sensor to feel the shake of the smartphone,which greatly change society~MEMS and IoT~.



・Introduction of MEMS sensor in smartphone
・Measurement principle of MEMS
・How to make MEMS on silicon wafer
・Importance of microfabrication technology
・Application to VR · AR, voice assistant, automatic driving etc

these are abstract content.I also learned a lot :)

In the lecture of the day, more than 100 people including elementary school students and elderly people, including related researchers, visited us and each table became full.

After the lecture, there was an event to think about applications using sensors on each table. Various ideas such as pen to measure concentration of study, eyeglasses corresponding to various degrees, machine to calculate automatically, etc. came out.


Finally We took a group photo with Tohoku University Public Relations staff, media work staff and facilitators. Thank you for the day! !




Chemnitzer Seminar 2017 @Fraunhofer ENAS

Dear Tanaka Lab’s student blog reader,

This is Salman, an M2 student who have stayed at Fraunhofer ENAS in Germany for the past 5 months. Here I would like to report about the so called Chemnitzer Seminar 2017, which was held just before my departure back to Japan.

On 13-14 June 2017, I had a chance to attend the Chemnitzer Seminar in Fraunhofer ENAS, Chemnitz, Germany. This seminar is held annually as an exchange meeting between Fraunhofer ENAS, or in particular its Department System Packaging, and its collaborators. This year, Tanaka-sensei is one of the speakers, as the collaboration between Fraunhofer ENAS and Tohoku University has a long history.

The seminar starts at noon on 13th. It was opened by an opening speech by Dr. Maik Wiemer, the head of the Department System Packaging. He introduced the activities in the department, highlighting the achievement in during the past one year. He also introduced the Fraunhofer Project Center, which is a group within our laboratory under Froemel-sensei, in Sendai and its activities.

Opening Remarks
Chemnitzer Seminar 2017 opening remarks by Dr. Maik Wiemer.

The second speech was from Tanaka-sensei. He introduced research activities in our laboratory, highlighting the MEMS application for robotics development. Tactile sensor system and its large scale integration (LSI) sensor platform is offered as a solution for a high density sensor distribution for robots, which potentially leads to the higher level of human-robot interaction. A high performance whole angle gyroscope is also offered as a solution for the stability of robot movement.

Tanaka Lab Introduction
Tanaka-sensei introduced our lab at the end of his presentation.

The focus of the Chemnitzer Seminar is in the current development of packaging technologies. It covers a wide area from the development of functional materials, deposition technologies, additive manufacturings, bonding technologies, trough silicon vias (TSV) and their applications for various purpose. From this seminar, I could get many insights, not only about the development of the technologies, but also some technical knowledge.

For instance, in a presentation by Dr. Anke Sanz-Velasco, IMT AG (Switzerland), I got to know about advanced glass processing techniques, especially glass patterning using oxygen rich Cr and HF dry etching. In another presentation by Mr. Hubner from Leibniz-institut (Germany), a technology to reduce the electron beam writing time with variable shaped beam is proposed. In his proposal, his team has demonstrated a time reduction from several years to several hours in an attempt to pattern a complicated design.

A trend of smart system for agricultural sector is also proposed by Dr. Woodhead from Lincoln Agritech (New Zealand). His proposal also included a call for collaboration to commercialize their work. It was very interesting to know that it is also possible to monitor the amount of N2 fertilized as well as soil moisture level to achieve a smarter irrigation system. These functions are realized by microwave sensor they developed.

There was also a presentation from Mr. Frank Roscher. He is one of two group leaders in the Department System Packaging of Fraunhofer ENAS who has received the Fraunhofer awards for his achievement in research as well as customer relation. I am actually working under his group during my stay. His main research interest is about the development of functional materials for microsystem packaging. And in this seminar, he introduced his work on the development of an aerosol jet printing technology to realize a 3D film membrane package. The package has a function as a security protection. When something penetrates the membrane, the security system will work, that the confidential data are kept safe.

Finally, the first day was closed by the presentation from Prof. Schulz about ongoing project in ENAS. The project is about a transportation card, which now is normally using the tap in tap out method. A new system which does not require tapping is proposed. The challenges are that everything, including sensors, actuators and power supply, have to be placed in a thin chip.

The second day starts from the morning with several presentations on the biomedical appications of smart systems. Biomedical equipments are often bulky and expensive, thus, only good hospitals have such facility. However, the idea of smart system using microsensors has fostered the idea of the development of wearables, or even implantable equipments. To realize that purpose, many researchers are working together. Of the devices developed are ultrasound assisted micro-endoscopy for diagnostic and therapeutics inside the human body by Fraunhofer ENAS, a wearable electroencephalogram (EEG) device developed by eemagine (Germany), and an optical sensor developed by Shinko (Japan).

Coffee Break
There is coffee break for the participants and presenters to exchange ideas or build a network in the middle of each session.

Overall, I think it was a good opportunity for exchanging results, as well as opening new collaborations between institutes from various countries. For me, it was also another exposure to new technologies being developed around the world. The seminar has given me a new perspective of what kind of world that we are going to realize with the development of technology, in particular the smart systems’ approach.