About LIMMS

First of all, what is LIMMS ?

  • LIMMS is an international research unit on MEMS and NEMS (Micro- and Nano-Electro-Mechanical Systems) operated in joint names of France, CNRS - Departement Ingenierie, and Japan, Institute of Indutrial Science (IIS), the University of Tokyo, and is located in Komaba Campus (IIS), Tokyo, Japan.

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  • Our research activities are concentrated on three main fields related to micro- and nano- technologies
    - Projects Overview : Bio-MEMS, Nanotechnology, Advanced-MEMS
  • LIMMS has so far welcomed more than 160 French scientists including post-doctoral supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) fellowship program or the CNRS and CNRS permanent Host Professors and Labs by their own funding for two years usually.
  • Once they arrive in Japan to find a position in the framework of LIMMS, they will be working with Japanese partners of MEMS or NEMS, and they start their own projects. Usually we arrange for them Japanese partners of the same or nearest research topics to support technical aspect of their projects such as MEMS processes.
    LIMMS provides an interface between the Japanese and French Host Professors and Labs of MEMS and NEMS to extend their research interest in a cooperative manner with valuable guidance of their host professors.

 

Check out the presentation of LIMMS on video made by CNRS Images

More videos here.



Scientific Policy of LIMMS

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Host laboratories in LIMMS and their expertise




History and Structure of the LIMMS

LIMMS was established in January 1995 in between IIS and the SPI (Science pour l'Ingenieur), the department of Science for Engineering with France Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), and has been supervised by department of Information and Communication Sciences and Technologies (or STIC) since 2000.

LIMMS is located in the new Komaba-II campus of the University of Tokyo.

Taking a snapshot of LIMMS members, one would see ten French researchers on average at a time, which means some ten research projects are developed at a time.

Figure 1. shows the structure of LIMMS researcher exchange program between the French counterparts.

Figure 2. LIMMS/CNRS-IIS Structure with host professors
LIMMS and its members are physically located in the IIS but with some external cooperative professors of the University of Tokyo.

There is another structural shell called CIRMM, Center for International Research on Micro Mechatronics, which is a hub structure for the international collaboration on MEMS/NEMS at IIS. CIRMM holds several international links to, for instance, Korea, Germany, Switzerland, Finland, and the Netherlands; and LIMMS is the most contributing part of CIRMM to France.

On the French side, LIMMS was started by the three founding institutions of CNRS, namely IMFC (Institut des Microtechniques de Franche-Comte) in Besancon, IEMN (Institut d'Electronique de Microelectronique et de Nanotechnologie) in Lille, and LAAS (Laboratoire d'Analyse et d'Architecture des Systemes) in Toulouse. Today we have more than ten partner institutions distributed in France.

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Transition of LIMMS Function


For the very first couple of years of LIMMS, it mainly worked to transfer the new technologies of MEMS from the research groups at IIS to CNRS institutions. At that time of MEMS development, both of us were aware of the enabling power of MEMS technology and seeking for its potential applications where it is practiced. We worked together in developing new MEMS fabrication processes and new principle of microactuators, for instance. French researchers, who were relatively new to MEMS, learned fundamental skills including utilities for MEMS and returned to their home institutions in France. Most of them continued their research career in MEMS, and had delivered valuable technical and administrative contribution to their country by being a missionary of MEMS.

In the following years, we discovered a new phase of collaboration by hosting their younger generation post-doctoral co-workers and pursued our common research goals in the real collaborative manner. Research groups on MEMS in France were tied with Japanese partners in IIS to extend and expand new frontier of MEMS. One good example out of the LIMMS collaboration pulled out another case; and the number of researchers ever hosted in LIMMS counts up to fifty or more. Today, we are no more in the teacher-student relationship but are independent research partners respecting and learning each other. As a sign of fruitful collaboration of LIMMS, we present the fact that we have been continuously publishing nearly fifty peer-reviewed journal and conference papers every year since 1999; note that LIMMS accommodate no larger than ten visiting researchers a year.

 

Interface between different countries and disciplines


The purpose of our research activity at LIMMS is to combine expertise of both Japanese and French researchers and to explore new frontiers of MEMS and NEMS for various fields, namely, integrated micro/nano-mechatronics, micro robotics, nano metrology, micro/nano photonics, bio-engineering, molecular engineering, and integrated circuits by the aids of several host laboratories in the campus of IIS. Our research co-workers from France come mainly from the research institutes of CNRS. They are either post-doctoral fellows (of JSPS) or CNRS permanent researchers. They do not necessarily have to be working in MEMS or NEMS beforehand but they come with various backgrounds and enthusiasm for their new research career. Once they arrive in Japan to find a position in the framework of LIMMS, they will be working with Japanese partners of MEMS or NEMS, and they start their own projects. Starting a new project in foreign country is really challenging for the visitors. Usually we arrange for them Japanese partners of the same or nearest research topics to support technical aspect of their projects such as MEMS processes. Japanese partners are sometimes faculty members of IIS (or in other campus), their experienced research staff and/or their students. LIMMS provides an interface between the Japanese and French researchers of MEMS and NEMS to extend their research interest in a cooperative manner with valuable guidance of their host professors.

We are proud of being able to work with these world-leading advisors in the fields. Under their wide range of expertise, LIMMS researchers are working in different topics; and it makes it difficult to pick up one to represent all. If requested, however, we would present recent works on bio-MEMS that use in-vitro living molecules of muscle (in nanometer range) as a mechanical actuator for delivering force to something pretty much larger (still in a micron range, though).

LIMMS has come to a new phase


Having spent almost ten years, LIMMS has been established in administrative aspect such as protocols in calling for post-doctoral fellows and CNRS researchers, organizing annual scientific committee for evaluation, and renewing research contract between IIS and CNRS as well as technical accomplishments. LIMMS has been highly acknowledged in CNRS, and they help very much to promote scientific and administrative activities of LIMMS; in fact, CNRS has recently provided an official position of administrative management officer in LIMMS at IIS. We are often referred to as the most successful international collaboration between France and Japan. In fact, what we are targeting today is the most successful international collaboration of the world. Both Japanese and French sides are currently putting more effort and commitment to promote LIMMS to be more distinguishable.



Acknowledgements


LIMMS would like to thank the Japan Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS) for their fellowship program supporting our post-doctoral researchers. LIMMS also would like to thank STIC of CNRS and MEXT of Japan for their research funding to LIMMS.

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