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The University of Texas at Austin

Welcome to the MicroElectromagnetics Device Group

Pardon the chips and cracks, we are under "restoration"

On-going research and teaching performed under the supervision of Dr. Dean P. Neikirk, Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering

last update: 11/11/13

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Hey, one of our research projects even made Jay Leno's monologue!!

Research in the Microelectromagnetic Devices Group

The Microelectromagnetic Devices Group studies the electromagnetic behavior of structures fabricated using integrated circuit processing techniques. For instance, understanding high-speed digital signal propagation between integrated circuits, IC packages, and high-performance printed wiring boards requires a background in solid-state devices, IC fabrication, and electromagnetics. Similarly, constructing new devices and circuits that operate at extremely high frequencies requires the same background. A major Microelectromagnetic Devices Group objective joins these diverse areas to explore high-speed and high-frequency circuit and device behavior, through both models and experiment.

An exciting new area of research involves the development of new sensors using microfabrication techniques. In some cases these sensors are analogs of natural senses; for instance, we are working on an "electronic tongue" for use in new chemical and biological agent sensors. Another area of research is the study of how biological entities detect infrared radiation, and the application of this knowledge to engineered IR detectors (such as microbolometers). We are also investigating the use of simple, low cost wireless sensors for "structural health monitoring" to identifying material degradation in large civil structures (bridges and buildings) before actual failure of the structure. This work is all generally related to the fabrication and design of new micro-sensors and actuators using IC processing and silicon micromachining (mems). These sensors include optically interrogated pressure sensors using micromachined Fabry-Perot cavities, and microminiature inductive proximity sensors. We have also investigated the application of MEMS technology in such novel environments as mechanical bearings and fluid seals.

Another major emphasis of our group has been the development of models of lossy transmission lines and interconnects. We are particularly interested in the impact of finite metal conductivity on interconnect characteristics, as well as the effect of substrate conductivity (e.g., semiconductor substrates) on signal propagation. Our models focus on the prediction of inductive and resistive effects, from dc resistance and internal inductance to skin-depth and proximity effect-dominated behavior, in both the frequency and time domains. We have done a variety of studies on planar inductors, including the effect of semiconductor substrate resistivity on inductor behavior.

Our group has done extensive work on monolithic microwave, millimeterwave, and far infrared devices, in particular on planar antennas, FIR detectors, microbolometers, high frequency resonant tunneling diodes, and coplanar waveguide phase shifters and delay lines.

Dr. Neikirk's group has also investigated devices based on quantum interference effects. His group developed several quantum transport models which were used to design heterostructure devices and, using the molecular beam epitaxial crystal growth technique, these devices were fabricated. These devices contained layers that are only a few atomic planes thick, causing very strong quantum interference. Originally these devices were investigated for use as high frequency oscillators, and were later studied for possible use as memory devices.

For more information click on the item of interest:

  • Search our site .
  • Dean P. Neikirk .
  • Research topics .
  • Publications by our group and links to other related research .
  • list of reprints available electronically .
  • press stories about some of our chemical sensor work .
  • Recent talks given by our group. (I use Adobe Acrobat as much as possible to keep file sizes down, so you might want to get Acrobat Reader if you don't have it yet.)
  • Various technical reports related to some of our contracts and grants.
  • List of software and "calculators" written and made available by our group.
  • SIMIAN (interconnect series resistance/inductance calculation)
  • Microstrip-on-semiconductor model
  • Spherical diffusion
  • High frequency measurement and fabrication capabilities of our group .
  • Teaching .
  • Students .
  • Former Students .
  • MS theses and PhD dissertations from our group .

  • Find out more about the University of Texas at Austin .

      Have look at UT from the "top"!
      Undergraduate admissions .
      Graduate Admissions .

  • Maps to get you around Austin and the UT Campuses:

      Maps of the main campus of UT-Austin .
      Maps of the JJ Pickle Research Campus (i.e., the JJPRC) (where our microelectronics-related work is based).
      Getting back and forth between Main Campus and the JJPRC (includes clickable map) .
      Using the Campus Shuttle Bus to get back and forth between Main Campus and the JJPRC .

  • Find out more about the UT Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering .

      Located in the Engineering Sciences Building (ENS) on the main campus.

  • Find out more about the Microelectronics Research Center .

      Located in the MER building at the JJPRC (includes a map to help you find our building and labs).


  • Center for the Design and Fabrication of Sensor Arrays, a Beckman Foundation Technologies Initiative .
  • Other research groups at UT-Austin:
  • Other research groups that might be of interest to you:

      David Rutledge at Caltech.

  • The lighter side of science and engineering:

  • If you haven't followed this link to Dilbert, you haven't lived!
  • Even though he went to the Tech on the east coast, some former engineers/faculty actually do something useful (eventually): pay a visit to the garage without the usual pain!
  • How do singing candles work, anyway?? Now includes a slowly increasing set of links to various topics related to combustion.
  • Famous scientists and technologists try to predict the future (a lesson in the dangers of peering into a crystal ball of your own manufacture) !
  • The dangers of science unbridled!
  • And other disasters that might be worthy of note ....
  • How to pick a dissertation topic...

  • Ethical Behavior and Related Topics:

  • On Being A Scientist: Responsible Conduct In Research .
  • Texas A&M's project "Introducing Ethics Case Studies Into Required Engineering Undergraduate Courses" .
  • Engineering ethics case studies .
  • Web Publishing:

      IEEE policy on electronic publishing .

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    This page was last updated on November 11, 2013 .