History  of  the  Microfabrication  Laboratory 

Microelectronics research and instruction began early at Berkeley, soon after the invention of the chip. In 1960, Professors D. O. Pederson, T. E. Everhart, and P. L. Morton conceived plans for the world’s first university integrated circuit lab.

The 1200-square-foot laboratory was constructed on the current site of the Microfabrication Facility in Cory Hall, and the first working circuit on 3/4-inch-diameter silicon wafer emerged in 1962.

By the early 1970s, the need for enlarged and modernized facilities became clear. The continual push toward further integration required increasingly sophisticated equipment as well as ultra-clean workspace. In addition, Berkeley’s burgeoning microelectronics programs demanded more space for research personnel.

Specific planning for renovation and expansion began in 1979 and was completed in 1983, at a total cost of $4.57 million. Professor W. G. Oldham, with the support of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, the Electronics Research Laboratory, and the College of Engineering, was the driving force behind the creation of the new Microlab. Don Rogers, the first laboratory manager, with the assistance of Bob Hamilton, was instrumental in bringing to completion equipment installation. The first graduate class in the new Microlab in integrated circuit processing commenced in the fall of 1983.

In subsequent years, operations were stabilized and placed on solid organizational and financial footing. Lab membership slowly increased to over 500 presently. Professor Ping K. Ko, faculty director from 1984 – 1993 provided leadership in establishing a cooperative atmosphere among the various research groups. Katalin Voros, laboratory manager since 1986, assembled and trained a professional support staff who maintains a well-functioning and safe facility for the researchers.

Students also participate in planning laboratory policy; through monthly membership meetings they have a unique opportunity to establish and maintain the best and safest possible research environment. A highly cooperative spirit has been achieved, and researchers from diverse disciplines work in harmony.

Under the directorship of Professor Spanos, the Microlab established the Berkeley Industrial Affiliates (BMLA) program, to provide access to research space for start-up companies, many of which were started by Berkeley graduates.

The present Microlab is in its third decade and will continue operating until a new laboratory, currently under construction as part of the CITRIS project, is completed.

Professor Ming Wu, as the Microlab Faculty Director, effective July 2008, will oversee the migration of the Microlab into the new Marvell Nanolab, starting in 2009.


July 2008

Microlab Faculty Directors

Prof. W. G. Oldham                     March 1983 – June 1984

Prof. Ping K. Ko                           July 1984 – June 1993

Prof. C. Spanos                            July 1993 – June 2000

Prof. T-J. King                             July 2000 – July 2004

Prof. N. Cheung (interim)            August 2004 – July 2006

Prof. T-J. King Liu                       August 2006 – June 2008

Prof. Ming Wu                             July 2008 December 2010