MRS Spring Day 1: Intro and scope

by Michael A. Fury, Techcet Group

April 15, 2009 – I’ve served as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for Solid State Technology magazine for many years now. This year, for the first time, I am attending a professional society symposium meeting wearing a press badge. That’s what happens when the meeting is walking distance from my home, and the professional editor who usually covers this kind of meeting has her foot in a cast.

Covering a meeting of this nature can be overwhelming. Forty-one technical symposia run concurrently, with over 4000 papers and posters and 12,000 names listed in the authors directory — pretty impressive for a society that claims just over 16,000 members. Attending on behalf of an employer would normally limit one’s focus to a handful of specific topics and objectives. Attending on behalf of a publication with a broad audience — beyond semiconductors and packaging, to include any technology that is a potential new customer of suppliers to traditional semiconductor markets — makes it somewhat less sharply focused.

The opening day of this weeklong meeting (April 13-17) is devoted primarily to a dozen tutorial sessions related to specific symposia topics. Only one symposium, “Concepts in Molecular and Organic Electronics,” has so many papers scheduled that it must run a full five days to present them all.

One of the services that MRS provides is to have the organizers of each symposium highlight particular talks in their sessions of “Special Note,” to help members of the press spot papers that may be a bit more newsworthy to their readers. This press “Tip Sheet” provides some insight into the topics that the organizers are particularly excited about, whether on behalf of their technical colleagues or for their perceived interest on behalf of the general public. The sheet identifies 88 papers of special note. These can be grouped into several categories that are both a testament to the mission of the MRS and a reflection on the issues of the day:

  • 21 papers on semiconductor devices and fabrication methods, including 7 on spintronics
  • 17 papers on metrology, sensors, and detectors
  • 15 papers on nanomaterials, quantum dots, and materials discovery methods
  • 11 papers on biomimetics
  • 7 papers on photovoltaics and solar cells
  • 7 papers on fuel cells and energy generation
  • 6 papers on water purification technology
  • 4 papers on flexible electronics

Global recession notwithstanding, a lot of people are in San Francisco talking about a lot of exciting new research that is receiving a lot of funding and generating a lot of new business opportunities. I’m happy to be a part of it.


Michael A. Fury, Ph.D, is senior technology analyst at Techcet Group, LLC, P.O. Box 29, Del Mar, CA 92014; email [email protected]

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