Osamu Tabata


Top-down meets bottom-up: Way to explore the plentiful room at the bottom

Osamu Tabata, Fellow, IEEE
Kyoto University of Advanced Science


In 1982 two papers in particular were published. One is recognized as the bible of Silicon micromachining, which is a typical top-down approach to miniaturization, and the other is known as the origin of DNA nanotechnology, which is a typical bottom-up approach to realizing nanoscale objects. Almost 40 years later the former is still the key to MEMS and the latter is the key to molecular machines. Both of these are recognized as powerful technologies and yet there remains a significant gap between them.

In this talk I begin by introducing the historical aspects of these two approaches to exploring the world at micro and nano scales. I then survey the current status of MEMS and DNA nanotechnology before discussing one challenging goal that remains to be addressed.


Osamu Tabata received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Nagoya Institute of Technology, Japan, in 1981 and 1993, respectively. In 1981, he joined the Toyota Central Research and Development Laboratories, Inc., Japan. In 1996, he joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ritsumeikan University, Japan. In 2003, he moved to the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Kyoto University, Japan. Since April 2005, he has been a Professor at the Department of Micro Engineering, Kyoto University. From October 2019, he moved to Kyoto University of Advanced Science as a founding Dean of Engineering School. He is currently engaged in research on micro/nano processes, MEMS, DNA nanotechnology.

Prof. Tabata was a guest professor at the Department of Microsystem Engineering, University of Freiburg, Germany from September to December 2000, a guest Professor of ETH Zurich, Switzerland from January to March 2001, a visiting senior international scientist of the Chinese Academy of Science in 2010, a guest Professor of Huazong University of Science and Technology, China from July 2011 to July 2014, a senior research fellow at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS) from May 2010 to September 2012, a distinguished visiting researcher of American University in Cairo in 2016 and a visiting Professor of Tsinghua University China from November 2018. He is a senior editor of the IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology (TNANO), an associate editor of the ASME/IEEE Journal of Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (JMEMS), and an editorial board member of the Elsevier Journal Sensors and Actuators. He is as a member of Award Committee for EDS. He is also a program committee member of many important International Conferences in his area of expertise. He is a Fellow of Institute of Electrical Engineer Japan.