The EU-funded initiative 'Micro and Nano Systems Center of Excellence - IMEL / NCSR Demokritos' (MINASYS-COE) was hosted at the Institute of Microelectronics (IMEL) at the National Center of Scientific Research 'Demokritos' in Greece. IMEL is widely known for research carried out on practical applications for MEMS. Made using micro- and nano-fabrication techniques, MEMS can be relatively simple structures having no moving components. However, they can also be extremely complex systems with multiple moving components under the control of integrated microelectronics. Over the years, IMEL researchers have applied MEMS for sensing temperature, pressure, chemical species, magnetic fields, radiation and many more applications. Remarkably, many of these micro-machined sensors have demonstrated performances exceeding those of their macro-scale counterparts. With such a wide range of applications, IMEL endeavoured to strengthen its research and development capabilities by upgrading its infrastructure. Specifically, equipment was purchased for nano-scale patterning. The new electron-beam writing system can draw patterns down to 2.2 nanometre resolution. The funding received also allowed IMEL to recruit experienced scientists and engineers. Furthermore, staff exchange with established Centres of Excellence in Europe helped the IMEL researchers get familiar with new sophisticated micro- and nano-fabrication techniques. Workshops organised during the course of the MINASYS-COE project enhanced the visibility of IMEL in the international scientific community. Representatives of selected small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as well as large industrial laboratories were invited to help pave the way towards a competitive nanotechnology laboratory. Substantial improvements in IMEL's research capacity enabled better research collaboration with partner institutions at regional, national and European level. MINASYS-COE activities should ultimately promote MEMS research in the European Research Area and particularly in South-eastern Europe.
MEMS, chip, Centre of Excellence, microelectronics, sensor, infrastructure, electron-beam writing system, nanotechnology