15 December 2022
Tomás Palacios named director of MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratories
Maria Zuber (vice president of research and E.A. Griswold Professor of Geophysics) and Anantha Chandrakasan (dean of the School of Engineering and the Vannevar Bush Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) say that on 1 December Tomás Palacios assumed the role of director of the Microsystems Technology Laboratories (MTL) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Palacios has served as director of the 6-A MEng Thesis Program; Industry Officer; and Professor of Electrical Engineering within the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS). He succeeds Advanced Television and Signal Processing (ATSP) professor Hae-Seung (Harry) Lee, who has been MTL director since 2019.
Picture: Tomás Palacios.
“MTL’s commitment to developing innovative technologies at all levels of the stack, from materials to devices, circuits and systems is an example to all,” comments Palacios. “We just need to browse the internet, make a phone call, or recharge our electric vehicle to see how technologies that came out of MTL have found their place in applications all around us.”
Palacios joined MTL in 2006, after receiving his PhD from the University of California – Santa Barbara, and his undergraduate degree in Telecommunication Engineering from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Spain). An expert in gallium nitride electronics for both radio frequency and power applications, Palacios and his group have also made seminal contributions to two-dimensional materials and devices, and their heterogeneous integration with state-of-the-art silicon electronics. Palacios is the founding director of the MTL Center for Graphene Devices and 2D Systems, as well as the co-founder of MTL spin-off Finwave Semiconductor Inc, which is commercializing GaN power amplifiers for 5G communications.
Palacios is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and has served the microelectronics community in many roles, more recently as the general chair for the IEEE Symposium on Very Large-Scale Integration (VLSI) Technology and Circuits. His work has been recognized with awards including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the 2012 and 2019 IEEE George Smith Award, and the National Science Foundation (NSF), Office of Naval Research (ONR), and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Young Faculty Awards.
“Semiconductors and microsystems have never been more important. It is not only about their tremendous implications to computing and communication, but also that they are the key to solving the climate crisis, transforming healthcare and, even, the future of education,” says Palacios, who promises that the lab will continue to build on its history of innovation. “We have a-once-in-a-generation opportunity to set the foundation for the future of semiconductors and microsystems, and everything that means for the future of our society… The MTL community will play a vital role in setting this foundation.”
Palacios is assuming this new role during a period of transition for MTL. In January, MTL will move to the Office of the Vice President for Research, maintaining a dotted line reporting to the School of Engineering. This move will help foster further collaboration between MTL and the Research Laboratory for Electronics (RLE) and grow the microelectronic and nanotechnology research community at MIT.