Democratizing Micro- and Nanofabrication
In today’s increasingly connected world, there is growing demand for new micro- and nanoscale devices that fall outside conventional electronics. These devices are fabricated using IC manufacturing tools, but require non-standard processes that are often incompatible with traditional fabrication avenues. This makes devices that rely on micro- and nanofabrication technologies prohibitively expensive and time-consuming to produce. Inchfab is democratizing micro- and nanofabrication with an ultra-low-cost micro- and nanofabrication platform to enable a new wave of innovative micro- and nanoscale devices.
Mitchell Hsing and Parker Gould founded Inchfab in 2019 to commercialize an ultra-low-cost micro- and nanofabrication platform. The pair began developing this platform during their graduate studies at MIT, in professor Martin A. Schmidt’s research group.
Both Hsing and Gould received Ph.D.’s in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT. Prior to that, Hsing earned a dual B.S. in electrical engineering and physics at the University of California, Irvine. Gould earned an M.Phil. in micro- and nanotechnology enterprise from the University of Cambridge, and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Vanderbilt University.
In the modern production environment, virtually all fabrication happens on 6-12” wafer substrates – which requires multi-billion-dollar fabrication facilities that are prohibitively expensive for technologies addressing emerging and niche market segments, as well as for prototyping and R&D. By scaling the throughput accordingly, the capital cost and physical footprint of the fabrication facility can be reduced by two to three orders of magnitude, while still retaining the same level of performance. This drastically lowers the entry barrier to micro- and nanofabrication.
For the last several years, Inchfab has been working to develop a complete platform of ultra-low-cost micro- and nanofabrication equipment to enable the economical production of electronic, mechanical, chemical, and biological devices, such as sensors, actuators, optical, RF, mixed-signal technology — things generally called more-than-Moore (MtM) devices. Once complete, the Inchfab platform will be able to perform prototyping and low-volume production of virtually any MtM device. Inchfab believes this will be a game-changing technology, allowing many unrealized devices to become a reality.
Potential for Impact
Currently, the MtM device market is served by a combination of specialized foundries, in-house production fabs, and a few academic facilities. For very-large-market MtM devices, such as consumer electronics, and semi-standardized designs, these fabrication options can be suitable. However, for the fabrication of devices that are radically new, or address low-volume, emerging markets, the current paradigm falls short. Inchfab will fundamentally change innovation on the micro- and nanoscale. By providing a drastically lower cost fabrication solution, the Inchfab platform is poised to become as ubiquitous as makerspaces are today and enable a new generation of engineers.
mhsing [at] inchfab [dot] com or pgould [at] inchfab [dot] com
Header image: Laura Ockel