International Conference Visits UCI

April 4, 2016 - Last week’s 2016 International Conference on Micromanufacturing (ICOMM), held in Irvine and co-chaired by two UC Irvine Samueli School professors, marks the first time the Golden State has hosted the prestigious event. While the four-day conference zoomed in on the machining of miniature parts, its success was anything but small, according to conference chair Lawrence Kulinsky, UCI project scientist.

With a focus on the processes, equipment and systems for fabricating miniature parts with micro/nano/meso-scale features, the March 28-31 conference, organized by the International Institution for Micromanufacturing (I2M2), brought together 128 micromanufacturing devotees from 15 countries throughout Europe, the Americas and Asia. The event featured three keynote speakers, 100+ talks, UC Irvine research lab demonstrations, a poster session and more than 100 papers submitted by 255 authors.

“Having the conference in Irvine gave us the opportunity to showcase the micromanufacturing research that takes place on our campus,” Kulinsky said, adding that many students and UCI researchers presented their work. UCI’s Institute for Design and Manufacturing Innovation was an event co-sponsor, and center director Lorenzo Valdevit, mechanical and aerospace engineering associate professor, delivered the welcoming remarks.

Keynote speakers Ali Khademhosseini (MIT-Harvard), Sung-Hoon Ahn (Seoul National University, Korea) and Roland Zengerle (University of Freiburg, Germany) inspired researchers with their visions of novel materials and processes, as well as ideas for micromanufacturing applications in personalized healthcare devices.

While most conference events were held at the Hilton Orange County Airport Hotel, on Tuesday afternoon guests were bused to UCI, where they visited the micromanufacturing labs of engineering professors Marc Madou (event co-chair) and Andrei Skhel, and stopped by advanced manufacturing facility RapidTech. Said Kulinsky: “This allowed them to see first-hand our advanced research as well as the hands-on innovative approach we use in engineering education.”

After lab tours, conference goers attended a poster session and dinner at the UCI Student Center.

But the conference wasn’t all work and no play. During the opening night reception, attendees were treated to a performance by Orange County Cavatina String Quartet, a chamber music group comprised of UCI alumni. Later in the week, participants enjoyed the music of Second Law, a UCI-based rock group, which covered a wide range of popular music. The evening included an impromptu group sing-along of the Eagles’ “Hotel California,” which emboldened conference attendees to volunteer individual renditions of everything from Italian opera to German lullabies to Russian folk songs.

Another event highlight was the presentation of best paper awards. Top honors went to a paper co-written by event co-chair Marc Madou, his student Arnoldo Salazar, and three others. “Nano-gap Fabrication in Suspended Carbon Nanowires using Joule Heating” snagged the conference’s Outstanding Paper Award, while Kulinsky and his research team won an Honorable Mention Award for “Additive Micromanufacturing Process of Electrokinetic Surface Patterning Utilizing Electroconductive Polymers."

As conference chair, Kulinsky was delighted with the event, especially the large number of graduate students – approximately 40 percent – in attendance. “This demonstrates the fact that the micromanufacturing field is growing and attracting young researchers,” he said.

--Anna Lynn Spitzer

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