University of Washington HomepageUniversity of Washington Electrical Engineering Department HomepageMEMS Laboratory Homepage


picture of Karl F. Böhringer

Karl F. Böhringer, Ph.D.

John M. Fluke Distinguished Chair of Engineering

Professor of Electrical Engineering and Bioengineering
Adjunct Professor of Computer Science & Engineering and Mechanical Engineering
Director, MEMS Laboratory
Department of Electrical Engineering
University of Washington
Box 352500, 253I EE/CSE Building
Seattle, WA 98195-2500, USA


tel: 206 221-5177
fax: 206 543-3842




Administrative Assistant: Jessica Manfredi


In our lab, we work on many aspects of micro and nano electro mechanical systems (MEMS / NEMS). This research tends to be very interdisciplinary, and we have collaborations in biology, chemical engineering, bioengineering, computer science, and other departments. We have built, for example, self-assembling microstructures, biomedical implants, systems for docking of picosatellites, and walking microrobots.
There are two major research themes in our work:
Controlling surfaces and interfacial forces at the micro and nano scale: this includes systems for controlled self-assembly of microcomponents, "programmable" surfaces whose local properties (for example, hydrophobicity) can be changed on demand, and MEMS actuator arrays and microrobots for moving tiny objects.
Joining MEMS and biology: this includes integrating new biomaterials into MEMS processes and devices, biomedical sensor implants, and microfluidic chips for handling and analyzing biological samples.



I offer graduate level classes in MEMS and microfabrication, specifically EE502—Introduction to Microelectromechanical Systems (usually in Autumn, crosslisted as ME/MSE504 and also available in the UW EE Professional Masters Program) and EE527—Microfabrication Techniques (usually in Spring).
EE 539 - Selfassembly from Nano to Milli Scales, which was introduced in Spring 2006.
At the undergraduate level, my teaching includes EE215—Fundamentals of Electrical Engineering and EE331—Devices and Circuits I. I also like to supervise varying independent study projects such as EE399, EE499, or similar.


Personal Information

I currently direct the University of Washington section of the Center for Interfacial Engineering of Microelectromechanical Systems (CIEMS). I am a senior member of the IEEE and a member of the editorial board of the ASME/IEEE Journal of Electromechanical Systems (JMEMS) and the IEEE Transactions on Automation Science & Engineering (T-ASE). I have served on numerous conference committees, including IEEE MEMS, Transducers, FNANO, IEEE ICRA. In 2011, Prof. Liwei Lin from UC Berkeley and I will chair IEEE MEMS - the International Conference on Microelectromechanical Systems.

My awards include an NSF Postdoctoral Associateship and an NSF CAREER Award from the US National Science Foundation, an IEEE Robotics & Automation Society Academic Early Career Award, and an Invitational Fellowship for Research in Japan from the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) in coordination with the NSF INT East Asia Program. Our Picosatellite Docking Project listed among Discover magazine's "Top 100 Science Stories".

Information for prospective students: If you are interested in working in my lab, please read this first.