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Wayne State Opens High-Tech Clean Room

Wayne State Opens High-Tech Clean Room DETROIT
In an effort to bolster its high-tech research capabilities, Wayne State University is launching a 3,700-square-foot clean room this month as part of its Sensors and Integrated Microsystems laboratories in the university’s College of Engineering.
A clean room is an area in which the air quality, temperature and humidity are highly regulated to protect sensitive equipment from contamination. Clean rooms are important in the production of silicon chips, hard disk drives and other technologies. In recent years, clean rooms have been established at businesses and colleges around the nation as companies push into high-tech research.
The Wayne State lab will focus on producing products that use microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS. MEMS, which can fit on the head of a pin, combine computers with tiny mechanical devices such as sensors, valves, gears and mirrors embedded in semiconductor chips. MEMS devices are used in automotive air bags and blood pressure sensors.
Dr. Ralph Kummler, dean of engineering at Wayne State, told the Detroit Free Press that the clean room will be used by students and companies that partner with the college in MEMS research. Kummler said he expects to double the amount of students working in MEMS research from about 50 to 100.
“We want to use this facility as a catalyst for new endeavors from the School of Medicine, to Ford, Visteon or anyone who wants to use MEMS to revolutionize their idea,” Kummler says.
Troy, Mich.-based automotive supplier Delphi Corp. has donated the $7.1 million in clean room equipment and has assigned several scientists and a lab technician to the facility. Delphi will use the equipment for research programs in automotive and new market technologies. Two Delphi researchers will join Wayne State adjunct faculty in the College of Engineering. 

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