The IMS laboratory consists of two major research programs, one devoted to conventional machining and the other to non-conventional machining and nano-machining operations. These programs are supported by machine tool research facilities that contain state of the art equipment valued at more than $4 million. They are by far the best-equipped research laboratories in the area of machine tools among any universities in the United States.
Several faculty members and groups in the College of Engineering are leading active research programs in Energy Efficient Manufacturing Processes and Materials, a key element in the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership launched by President Obama in June 2011 as a national effort for developing partnerships between industry, federal government, and universities for addressing emerging technologies to create high quality manufacturing jobs and can enhance the global competiveness of the United States. COE programs include manufacturing of small high-powered batteries, composite materials, and alternative energy devices. These include activities in the Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS) under the leadership of Professor Daniel Sperling on Hybrid Vehicles (some jointly with Mechanical Engineering Professor Andrew Frank), Energy and Transportation, and Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathway.
In addition, several faculty members in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, including Professors Bruce Gates, Joanna Groza, Sangtae Kim, Alexandra Navrosky, Pieter Stroeve, Ahmet Palazoglou, and Philip Power conduct research in the area of fuel cells and hydrogen storage that can impact energy efficiency and improve manufacturing techniques for fuel cells as a key component of future energy storage and retrieval. In the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering the work of Professors Case van Dam and Bruce White have focused on wind energy. Professors Paul Erickson and Valeria La Saponara have been working, respectively, on fuel cells and composite materials.
Advanced Robotics is another key element of the national Advanced Manufacturing Partnership. Faculty members in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering have been active in robotics research. Professor Harry Cheng’s work in the development of iMobot, an intelligent reconfigurable modular robot, is being commercialized. Professors Bahram Ravani and Steven Velinsky are developing human-centric robotic systems for highway maintenance and construction, where the next generation of robots can work with human operators.
Several faculty members in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science are active in the areas of Advanced Materials, dealing with both syntheses and processing technologies. Professors Joanna Groza, Enrique Lavernia, Subhash Mahajan, and Subhash Risbud participate in various initiatives in manufacturing including the Material Genome and the Energy Efficient Manufacturing Processes and Materials initiatives of the Department of Energy.
The Center for Nano-MicroManufacturing (CNM2) facility is a shared research laboratory consisting of approximately 10,000 square foot class 100 cleanroom for micro and nano-fabrication and technology development. This facility supports numerous faculty research programs and is available as a recharge facility to industrial users. The CNM2 facility is equipped with advanced equipment for the deposition of materials, lithography, etching, and inspection for micro- and nano-system research and characterization. Equipment is also used for advanced additive type manufacturing and mico/nano fabrication.
In the lithography area, the equipment in the facility includes systems for pattern generation and mask aligners, nano-imprint systems, and nano-SEM electron beam lithography systems. In the thin film area, the laboratory is equipped with furnaces, electroplating systems, and electron-beam evaporators. In the dry etching area, the equipment in the laboratory includes plasma and thermal etching systems as well as wafer handling devices. Finally in the metrology area, the laboratory is equipped with advanced profilo-meters, nano-spec film thickness monitors, and electron scanning microscopes.