2.76 | Fall 2004 | Graduate

Multi-Scale System Design


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Course Goals

Macro, micro and nano-scale technologies rely on scale-specific performance models, design methods and fabrication processes which may be used to engineer machines within a limited range of size. The inherent incompatibility between engineering processes at different size scales leads to machines whose interactions with larger/smaller machines may be limited or impractical. This is troublesome as mechanical systems are often required to perform functions which are best achieved via combinations of different-scale machines. This course has been developed to teach students how to engineer multi-scale mechanical systems to ensure compatibility of macro, micro and nano-scale machines/components. This is a key to enabling broad utility of emerging nano and micro-scale machines in the “macro-scale world.” Examples of MuSS include precision instruments, Nanomanipulators, fiber optics, Nanorobotics, MEMS, X-Ray telescopes and carbon nano-tube assemblies.

Term Project

Materials are studied and mastered via a project in which students design and fabricate a Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM). A series of problem sets at the beginning of the term will lead students through key design decisions and modeling steps.


Students will receive a Tablet PC which contains the modeling, design and fabrication software required to complete the course project.

Paper Critique and Presentation

Students will read, critique and present findings on a paper which addresses MuSS research or covers important advances/implications for MuSS.


Assignments 35%
Project 35%
Participation 10%
Paper Critique 20%

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2004
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Problem Sets
Written Assignments