Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Course Overview

Microelectromechanical devices (MEMS), such as pressure sensors, accelerometers, rate gyroscopes, and opto-mechanical assemblies and displays, require knowledge of a broad range of disciplines, from microfabrication to mechanics to electromagnetism. This subject presents an introduction to this broad field, using examples and design projects drawn from real-word MEMS applications. Lectures during the first 2/3 of the term will cover microfabrication technologies and process flow development, material properties, structural behavior, piezoresistive and capacitive sensing, electrostatic actuation, fluid damping, amplifiers, noise, and feedback systems. Student teams will design a microsystem (sensors/actuators, electronics, and feedback) to meet a set of specifications (sensitivity, frequency response, linearity) using a realistic microfabrication process. Modeling and simulation in the design process is emphasized. Along the way, student exercises will develop skills in locating suitable information from libraries and electronic archives, visualization of structures created with microfabrication process sequences, creation of low-order dynamical device models, and insertion of those models into the simulation of a complete electronic measurement circuit. Prior fabrication experience is desirable. This subject carries 4 Engineering Design Points toward the EECS B.S. and MEng requirements.


The goal of this course is to explore the world of microelectromechanical devices and systems (“MEMS”). This requires an awareness of material properties, fabrication technologies, basic structural mechanics, sensing and actuation principles, circuit and system issues, packaging, calibration, and testing. We will cover this through a combination of lectures, case studies, individual homework assignments, a take-home design problem, and design projects carried out in teams.


The materials in this course evolved from materials developed by Stephen D. Senturia.

Required Work

The plan is for seven individual homework assignments, usually requiring some independent work either in the library or with modeling, a take-home design problem, and a final design project done in teams of four or five students. A preliminary short report on the design project is due in early April, and a brief intermediate report is due at the end of April. The final design project presentations will occur during the last class or two and may include some time outside the normal course meeting time, depending on the number of projects.


Homework 15%
Take-home design problem 35%
Final design project 50%

Grades will be based on homework, the take-home design problem, and the final design project. Each student’s grade for the final design project will be determined as follows. The overall team project grade will constitute half of the student’s individual project grade. The other half of the student’s individual project grade will be determined based on peer grading within each team.

Policy on Cooperation

Students learn best from each other. There is no restriction on cooperation, discussions, use of texts, library materials, or other sources while learning how to do any homework assignment. If a solution to a problem is found in the literature, students are expected to provide correct citations to that literature. But for the individual homework assignments, every student is expected, at the end, to have worked through their own analysis or modeling work, and to have written up their own work for submission. In contrast, the take-home design problem is an individual project on which collaboration and cooperation are not permitted. For the term projects, a single report from each team is to be prepared. Cooperation in this case is an essential part of the assignment.

Learning Resource Types
Problem Sets with Solutions
Lecture Notes
Programming Assignments