A number of groups in the Department are engaged in research on micro- and nanoscale phenomena. Beginning with microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), one of the first such groups in India led by Prof. Rudra Pratap whose group investigated dissipation in MEMS devices, micro and nano research in the Department has grown in multiple directions. Topics like mechanics of solids and fluids at small length scales, microscale transport phenomena, computational micromechanics, development of numerous micro sensors and actuators, etc. have been vigorously pursued in the Department for more than 15 years now. These efforts are now growing rapidly with newly hired faculty, besides inter-departmental collaborative ventures.
It may be noted that MEMS as well as micro- and nano-fabrication research initiated and nurtured by the groups of Prof. Pratap and Prof. G.K. Ananthasuresh played an important role in launching the Centre for Nano Science and Engineering (CeNSE) in IISc in 2010. They are also responsible for expanding the scope of MEMS research across India through engagement in two national research missions, namely the National Programme on Smart Materials (NPSM) and the National Programme on Micro and Smart Systems (NPMASS). Alongside, Prof. M.S. Bobji has explored nanomechanics for over two decades now with novel experimentation in Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). Prof. Ananthasuresh, Prof. C.S. Jog and Prof. Pratap also led a multi-investigator project to develop a MEMS software suite for multiphysics simulation. Micromachined pressure sensors, accelerometers, gyroscopes, Capacitive Micromachined Ultrasonic Transducers (CMUTs), force sensors, xy-stages, RF switches, miniature grippers, micro-speakers, etc., were developed, tested and calibrated as part of this initiative. Some of these have been commercialized (e.g., pressure sensor, force sensor) while others are in the translation phase. More recently, new faculty like Prof. Saptarshi Basu, Prof. Aloke Kumar, and Prof. Susmita Dash have shown keen interest in research on fluids and heat transfer aspects at small length scales.