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An Introductory Multidisciplinary Design Course In Mems

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Multi-disciplinary Design

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.192.1 - 7.192.6

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Paper Authors

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Satish Mahajan

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Joe Biernacki

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Glenn Cunningham

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Jeff Frolik

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Main Menu Session 3225

An Introductory Multi-disciplinary, Design Course in MEMS

Jeff Frolik, Joe Biernacki, Glenn Cunningham and Satish Mahajan

Tennessee Technological University


Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) will likely be one of the 21st century's engineering design achievements. Integration of sensors and actuators with associated electronics on a single platform has added a new dimension to the design of engineering solutions. MEMS devices have already made significant commercial impact in such diverse applications as airbag deployment sensors, inkjet printer cartridges, vaccine delivery systems, digital light projectors and optical switches. With an ever increasing number of applications in automotive, aerospace, medical and other industries, projections have the MEMS market growing to $12 billion in 2002 1 and experts envision that MEMS will soon be as ubiquitous as microcircuits. As such, educating undergraduate as well as graduate students in this important developing area is no longer an interesting experiment in education but a necessary fact.

In this paper, the results of an introductory multi-disciplinary, project-oriented course in MEMS are presented. The course is team-taught at Tennessee Technological University (TTU) by faculty from chemical (CHE), electrical (ECE) and mechanical (ME) engineering to a mix of undergraduate and graduate students from these three disciplines. The authors will discuss the format for this course including content, structure and student projects. These results, including lessons learned, are from two offerings of the course, Spring 2000 and Spring 2001. MEMS by nature are interdisciplinary systems and thus this topic is not only appropriate for accomplishing ABET goals of providing interdisciplinary team experience, but also the course material exposes undergraduates to a field of study not typically offered in most undergraduate engineering curricula.

Course Content and Structure

Tennessee Technological University is predominately an undergraduate institution, thus the authors have geared this introductory MEMS course at the senior/first-year graduate level. Other universities offer undergraduate MEMS courses but often they are off shoots of on-campus semiconductor activities and thus focus on device fabrication2, 3. In addition, these courses tend to be departmentalized. TTU, however, does not have a fabrication facility nor does it have a faculty member with MEMS-specific expertise and thus a different approach has been taken. Building upon the various strengths of faculty throughout the College of Engineering, this cross- listed course emphasizes system level issues associated with developing MEMS devices as opposed to providing students with hands-on fabrication experience. The course addresses

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Mahajan, S., & Biernacki, J., & Cunningham, G., & Frolik, J. (2002, June), An Introductory Multidisciplinary Design Course In Mems Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada.

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