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Mems Fabrication As A Multidisciplinary Laboratory

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1054.1 - 12.1054.8



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Paper Authors

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Todd Kaiser Montana State University

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Andrew Lingley Montana State University

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Matt Leone Montana State University

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Brad Pierson Montana State University

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

MEMS Fabrication as a Multidisciplinary Laboratory Abstract

A multidisciplinary course in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) fabrication is described in which students design a six mask process to produce accelerometers, pressure sensors and tactile sensors. The course teaches interdisciplinary tradeoffs between mechanical design, electrical design, material properties and microfabrication in a 15-week term where students fabricate, model, and test working microsystem devices. The students learn the basics of microfabrication, the impact of the fabrication process on the electrical and mechanical design of a sensor, and the effects of electrical and mechanical design on the yield of functional devices. The course is designed to run parallel to an “Introduction to Microfabrication” course where CMOS transistors are fabricated. This allows for a reduction in total resources required when compared to offering individual or separate courses.


Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) engineering is inherently a multidisciplinary field based on interactions of mechanical and electrical components which typically require insights into numerous other fields depending on the specific application and use of the device created. The diversity of the field overlaps the traditional boundaries between curricula. Students must have a fundamental understanding of mechanical and electrical engineering, but also need to assess the impact of fabrication, packaging and application on the design. This can require aspects of chemistry, physics, chemical engineering, material science and other assorted fields. This makes a MEMS laboratory based course an ideal channel to introduce students to multidisciplinary projects.

Course Structure

The laboratory was developed to add a MEMS portion to the current microfabrication course where CMOS transistors are fabricated and tested1. The mask set and fabrication procedures were developed as a senior design project by undergraduate students. The project is constrained in such a way that the devices are produced with the currently available cleanroom facilities used to produce CMOS transistors. This reduced tool set limits the design to bulk silicon mechanical structures and diffused piezoresistive sensing elements.

Educational materials included in the MEMS course were developed after reviewing MEMS programs at other universities 2,3 and compiling information from textbooks 10,11. Key to the development of this course has been frequent review and updating as the course is taught and new program descriptions4-9and textbooks are published12, 13. The lecture component of the course exists to instruct the student in the necessary information required to design, model, fabricate, and test simple MEMS structures. A review of essential electrical, mechanical, and material concepts begins in the first lectures. Electrical conductivity of materials introduces the concept of conduction bands and the classification of materials as dielectrics, semiconductors and metals. Bulk silicon structures lead to a discussion of silicon as both a mechanical and electrical material, and the crystalline nature of silicon substrate wafers. Here the ideas of stress

Kaiser, T., & Lingley, A., & Leone, M., & Pierson, B. (2007, June), Mems Fabrication As A Multidisciplinary Laboratory Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1768

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