The best of two worlds – MEMS design with the spirit of a start-up as a part of a big corporation

A good match. From the beginning Principal MEMS Designer Eric Sage had the feeling, that his earlier work experience was a good match for Kyocera Tikitin. He started working in Finland in January 2020. The company that previously employed him decided to cease its MEMS related activities, and Sage found the open position of Kyocera Tikitin on LinkedIn. He sent an application and has now moved to Finland. Sage’s career has sent him to many countries and places, but this time he hopes to stay a longer period than just a few years.

– I travel a lot, but I had not been to Finland before last November. This was a step up for me. I have learned a lot and I find my work very challenging but extremely rewarding, Sage describes.

The MEMS adventure’s premise is ready

He finds the timing almost perfect for starting as a Principal MEMS Designer at Kyocera Tikitin. The whole adventure – disrupting the timing device market with MEMS – is at its beginning. Although the premise is ready.

– This is almost perfect. We have our first prototype, but there are so many things we need to develop and many opportunities in the market for new products in the future.

In Sages opinion Kyocera Tikitin has the best of two worlds: the spirit and agility of a start-up company but no daunting fear of running out of money. The operational integrity is solid within Kyocera corporation. At Kyocera Tikitin decisions can be done and executed quickly. The common goal is clear and there is no ambiguity about the priorities in his work. At Kyocera Tikitin everyone is open for new ideas and eager to improve themselves.

Principal MEMS Designer’s work contains several aspects

The workday of a R&D specialist varies.

– Now we are developing simulation tools and building a platform to be able to predict and simulate the final product via Finite Element modelling (FEM) coupled with object-oriented scripting (Matlab/JAVA). The aim is that when all the scripts are ready, the core of the simulation work will be automated completely, letting the designer use his engineering judgement to select the best design candidates.

“I like working with the Finns, they are very efficient and straightforward.”

Sage also draws the masks layouts using CAD tools and sends them to the manufacturer to provide the process engineers the masks they need for their processing steps.
The aspect of which he values the most in his work is the organization of workshops where he gets to make presentations to his colleagues about a specific technical topic. This usually involves an in-depth review of the literature whether scientific or from the competition (patents).

– Basically, I read, read and read to understand why and how they did something. This phase also includes modelling and using equations. Then we discuss the findings and evaluate, if there is something we can implement in our work. I am paid to learn and analyse and that is really rewarding.

In the future Sage will be also analysing data to validate the developed models. Theses cycles of modelling, data feedback and refinement will enable accurate prediction of the product’s performances for as many specifications as possible. This kind of work will be increasing when Kyocera Tikitin will have multiple products.

– I am familiar with this kind of work from my earlier industry experience and my Ph.D. work.

One next step is also to optically characterise the product. This is done by probing the
resonator surface with a laser to extract material parameters that aren’t electrically accessible. These parameters may be used to infer design model inputs or debug process related issues.

– We have a project with VTT to implement a new tool for that and since in my previous work I worked with a similar instrument I am the right contact for developing this capability further.

Efficient working, no micromanaging

He describes his colleagues driven, invested and friendly.

– I like working with the Finns, they are very efficient and straightforward. I do not have to guess what people want. Here people do not like to waste time. Although sometimes I find Finnish people hard to read and they have a good poker face.

Sage says he enjoys working independently, the working culture does not involve any kind of micromanaging from the upper level.
One, rather a small thing, Sage appreciates in his working environment is that everyone uses English.

– There might be even six Finns in the room, but when I enter, everyone starts speaking English. I really appreciate, here people make an effort for communication.