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Nicol McGruer

326 Dana Research Center
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115


At Northeastern University, Professor McGruer has worked in a variety of microfabrication-related areas including plasma-source ion implantation for semiconductor doping in multiple-process systems, fabrication of 0.1 to 2 micron-scale gated field emission devices, gated field emitter reliability physics, fabrication of microrelays and MEMS sensors, fabrication of 3-D microelectronic circuits, and fabrication of monolithic ferrite devices. Current research interests are in the areas of micro and nanofabrication, especially MEMS. Recent projects include design and fabrication of microrelays, micromirrors, and a variety of MEMS sensors, with an emphasis on nanoscale material properties and contacts. Current projects include design of microrelay contacts, fabrication of MEMS testbeds for nanoscale materials testing, design and fabrication of magnetic sensors, and development of microfabricated surface-energy driven nanoscale alignment systems. To carry out this work, Professor McGruer directs the Microfabrication Laboratory and the Scanning Electron Microscopy Facility.

Professor McGruer received the degrees of B.S. in physics and M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 1977, 1979, and 1983 from Michigan State University. From 1983 to 1987, at Sperry Semiconductor Operations, he was responsible for ion implant/diffusion process development for 0.8 and 1.25 micron CMOS technologies, participated in the startup of a new fabrication facility, and investigated rapid thermal and oxidation of silicon for MOS gate dielectrics.

Research Interests:

  • MEMS
  • microfabrication
  • microsystems
  • microrelay
  • microspectrometer
  • optical switching
  • optical MEMS


  • PhD, Michigan State University, 1983

Research & Scholarship Interests

MEMS, MOEMS, microfabrication, microsystems, microrelay, microspectrometer, optical switching, optical MEMS
Affiliated With

Department Research Areas

College Research Initiatives

Honors & Awards

  • Søren Buus Outstanding Research Award, College of Engineering

Selected Publications

  • A. Basu, R. Hennessy, G. Adams, N. McGruer "Reliability in Hot Switched Ruthenium on Ruthenium MEMS Contacts", Proceedings of the 59th Holm Conference on Electrical Contacts (HOLM),2013, 22-25 Sept. 2013, Pages 1-8
  • A. Basu, R. Hennessy, G. Adams, N. McGruer "Leading and Trailing Edge Hot Switching Damage in a Metal Contact RF MEMS Switch", Proceedings of Transducers & Eurosensors XXVII: The 17th International Conference on Solid-State Sensors, Actuators and Micro-systems (Transducers & Eurosensors XXVII), p 16-20, 2013
  • S.D. Berger, N.E. McGruer, G.G. Adams "Simulation of Dielectrophoretic Assembly of Carbon Nanotubes Using 3D Finite Element Analysis", Nanotechnology, 26(15), 2015, e155602
  • A. Basu, R.P. Hennessy, G.G. Adams, N.E. McGruer "Hot Switching Damage Mechanisms in MEMS Contacts - Evidence and Understanding", Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, 24, 2014, e105004 
  • Y.-C. Wu, N. McGruer, G.G. Adams "Adhesive Slip Process Between a Carbon Nanotube and a Substrate", Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, 46, 2013, e175305 
  • R.P. Hennessy, A. Basu, G.G. Adams, N. McGruer "Hot-switched Lifetime and Damage Characteristics of MEMS Switch Contacts", Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, 23(5), 2013, e055003 
  • H. Pan, Y.-C. Wu, G.G. Adams, G.P. Miller, N. McGruer "Interfacial Shear Stress Between Single-walled Carbon Nanotubes and Gold Surfaces With and without an Alkanethiol Monolayer", Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 407, 2013, 133-139
  • C. Pramanik, Y. Li, A. Singh, W. Lin, J.L. Hodgson, J.B. Briggs, S. Ellis, P. Müller, N.E. McGruer, G.P. Miller "Water Soluble Pentacene", Journal of Materials Chemistry C, 1, 2013, 2193-2201 
  • P. Ryan, Y.-C. Wu, S. Somu, G. Adams, N. McGruer "Single Walled Carbon Nanotube Electromechanical Switching Behavior with Shoulder Slip", Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, 21, 2011, e045028

Related News

November 9, 2016

ECE Assistant Professor Matteo Rinaldi (with Co-PI Professor Nicol McGruer) has received a $2.7M award from DARPA MTO to develop a magnetic-free “Microelectromechanical Resonant Circulator (MIRC)” orders of magnitude smaller than any existing implementation of circulators available to date.

July 14, 2016

MIE Professor Ahmed Busnaina & ECE Professor Nicol McGruer were awarded a patent for “Directed assembly of carbon nanotubes and nanoparticles using nanotemplates”.

September 23, 2015

ECE Assistant Professor Matteo Rinaldi and Professor Nicol McGruer have received a $1.1M award from DARPA MTO to develop a “Plasmonic Microelectromechanical Infrared Digitizer (PLASMID).”

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