Nitin S. Kale

Dr. Nitin S. Kale.jpg


Nitin S. Kale obtained his M. Tech from VNIT Nagpur in 1999, and his Ph. D. from the Electrical Engineering Department at IIT Bombay in 2007. During 2007 – 2008, he worked as a Principal Engineer at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, on the 32-nm High-K Metal Gate project. In 2009 he joined the IIT Bombay Nanomanufacturing Facility as its Manager. In this role he was responsible for the day to day operations and management of the Rs 200 Crore IIT Bombay Nanofabrication Facility.  

Since June 2011, he is working with NanoSniff Technologies, which is a technology start-up company incubated at IIT Bombay. He is responsible for the R&D in the area of fabricating microcantilever sensors, microheaters; and developing instruments for detecting explosives, proteins and antibodies, using microcantilever based measurements.  

He has developed 5 Products, which include:

  1. Instruments: (i) Omnicant; (ii) Sensimer; 
  2. MEMS Devices: (i) Piezoresistive Microcantilevers; (ii) Microheaters. 
  3. Hotwire-CVD Cluster Tool for Depositing Thin Films of Polysilicon, Silicon Nitride etc.

He has demonstrated the Proof of Concept of detecting Explosives using MEMS Microheaters & HighSpeed & High-Sensitivity Electronics. He has also demonstrated the Proof of Concept of detecting Cardiac Proteins (hFAbP, Myoglobin etc) using Piezoresistive Microcantilevers, Ultrasensitive electronics, & a Custom-made Liquid-Cell.

His research interests include design, simulation, fabrication and characterization of MEMS structures; & MEMS devices for Chemical & Biochemical Sensing. He has published over 16 papers in peer reviewed journals and conferences; he holds/applied_for 4 patents; and has published a book-chapter.


MEMS based Sensors for Chemical & Biochemical Sensing Applications


Since the late 1980s there have been spectacular developments in the areas of Nano-Bio-Technology & MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS). These developments have enabled the exploration of transduction modes that involve mechanical energy; and are based primarily on mechanical phenomena. 

While MEMS represents a diverse family of designs, devices with simple microcantilever architecture, or microheater architecture, are especially attractive as transducers for chemical and biological sensors. As a result an innovative family of chemical and biological sensors has emerged that employ these MEMS devices.

The first part of the talk deals with several important aspects of these devices, namely: (i) the underlying nano-bio-technology principles; (ii) device architecture & fabrication; and (iii) applications.

In the second part of the talk we discuss about our work on developing products in two critical areas: 

  1. Healthcare: Accurate & rapid detection of hs-Troponin to diagnose myocardial infarction using novel functionalized cantilevers & ultrasensitive electronics. Our bioMEMS device is capable of detecting ‘cardiac markers’ that are released in the blood, after a person has a heart attack. We discuss its architecture, chemical & bio functionalization protocols, measurement setup & results. It is visualized to be a Point-ofCare instrument that can help physicians in diagnosing a heart-attack event. Potentially our instrument could also detect pathogens, DNA/RNA other bacteria etc.
  2. Security & Surveillance: We have developed an electronic nose using Microheaters which can detect explosives such as RDX, TNT, PETN etc. We discuss about the device architecture, driving & reading electronics, measurement method & key results. The application is targeted to find use at airports, hotels, malls & other public places. 

Finally, we discuss about the instruments (Omnicant & Sensimer) that we have developed, to help students & researchers to experiment with microcantilevers & microheaters, and thereby understand their working.