Thomas Kenny participated in development of a leading-edge wafer-scale fabrication process for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) silicon devices, which has allowed the mass commercialization of MEMS resonators for timing applications in today’s smart watches, smart phones, and fitness trackers. This thin-film encapsulation process, known as epi-seal, helped MEMS resonators realize their advantages of exceptional stability, lower power consumption, cost, and smaller thickness of packaged devices over traditional quartz crystals. Epi-seal allows the fabrication of MEMS resonators at the wafer-level, integrated with the package, and provides the material quality and long-term stability needed for low-cost and reliable operation, all in an ultra-small die size important for mobile and wearable technologies. To further spur commercialization, Kenny cofounded SiTime, which became a leading supplier of MEMS resonators integral to the devices people use every day.
An IEEE Senior member, Kenny is the Richard Weiland professor with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and currently serves as senior associate dean of Engineering for Student Affairs at Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.