The MEMS Research Laboratory (MRL) in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the Univeristy of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) was established in June 2004 by Dr. Arturo Ayón.

This laboratory was made possible thanks to a Sony Electronic Inc. donation of nearly $2 million worth of equipment as a way of "giving back to the community." With this generous donation, UTSA trains students for careers in micro and nanotechnology.

Areas of research include high-efficiency photovoltaics, down-shifting quantum dots, metallic nanoparticles and their plasmonic effects, drug eluting bio-absorbable stents, sensor arrays, power generation from wearable fabrics, hyperlenses, metamaterials, chemical sensors and micro-chemical reactors on robotic platforms, microactuators for radar applications, printable electronics, nanotechnology, CMOS-compatible microwave varactors, among others. Intellectual property generation and the fabrication and characterization of laboratory prototypes are strongly emphasized. The examples include the following devices:

  1. Roof Load Sensor to monitor, quantify and display in real time roof loads on strip malls and dwellings due to rain, hail or snow accumulation.
  2. Chemical Sensor on a Robotic Platform, otherwise known as a Lab-on-a-Robot, to monitor and identify chemical compounds in aqueous and air media. This device was awarded by NASA an STTR phase I in 2012 and an STTR Phase II in 2013 to HJ Science and Technology, Inc., of Santa Clara, California
  3. Wireless Baby Vitals Monitor to detect, quantify and display in real time breathing and pulse rates of babies and infants. This device won 1st place in the $100K Student Technology Venture Competition in 2008.
  4. Self-Contained Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Mask for sleep apnea disorders. This device also won 1st place in the $100K Student Technology Venture Competition in 2014.

Finding the MEMS Lab