366.103 Theory, modelling and simulation of MEMS and NEMS devices
This course is in all assigned curricula part of the STEOP.
This course is in at least 1 assigned curriculum part of the STEOP.

2023W, VO, 2.0h, 3.0EC


  • Semester hours: 2.0
  • Credits: 3.0
  • Type: VO Lecture
  • Format: Presence

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of the course, students are able to...

  • Model the mechanical behavior of MEMS/NEMS by continuum mechanics.
  • State and test the underlying assumptions of the theory of linear elasticity.
  • Describe the interaction between MEMS/NEMS and fluids.
  • Calculate the eigenmodes and eigenfrequencies of selected structures.
  • Derive the differences between macroscopic and microscopic systems
  • Predict the dynamics of resonators.
  • Derive the basic theory of the method of finite elements.
  • Explain the working principle of reference oscillators, mass und fluid sensors.
  • Discuss novel concepts like quantum MEMS/NEMS.
  • Understand technical subject-specific technical terminology and critically evaluate relevant scientific publications.
  • Use open source software for eigenmode analysis.

Subject of course

The design of micro- and nanoelectromechanical systems (MEMS/NEMS) is a highly interdisciplinary field which reflects in the variety of topics of this course. Starting from an introduction to continuum mechanics and piezoelectricity we investigate different aspects of the mechanics of basic MEMS/NEMS structures like membranes and beams. By understanding the interaction of MEMS/NEMS with their environment, we are able to understand the outstanding performance of MEMS/NEMS sensors for mass and fluid sensing. Another important aspect for the modelling of MEMS/NEMS is the representation of MEMS/NEMS with discrete lumped element models and we discuss the most important discrete models. For quantitative predictions often numerical methods need to be employed for which the finite element method (FEM) is the most known. We discuss the fundamental theory of the finite element method and its limitations. Using the above theory, we study example applications like reference oscillators or fluid sensors. Additionally, we take a look at novel concepts like quantum MEMS/NEMS. As part of the course, participants will read and discuss a recent scientific publication and implement finite element simulations in Python.

Teaching methods

  • Presentation and discussion of contents during lectures
  • Independent study of scientific publications and their discussion
  • Implementation of finite element simulations in Python

Mode of examination


Additional information

Initial meeting: Thursday, October 5th, 2023 at 1 pm in CD0112



Course dates

Thu13:00 - 14:0005.10.2023 ISAS Meetingroom CD0112Preliminary lecture
Thu12:00 - 14:0012.10.2023 - 25.01.2024 ISAS Meetingroom CD0112Lecture
Theory, modelling and simulation of MEMS and NEMS devices - Single appointments
Thu05.10.202313:00 - 14:00 ISAS Meetingroom CD0112Preliminary lecture
Thu12.10.202312:00 - 14:00 ISAS Meetingroom CD0112Lecture
Thu19.10.202312:00 - 14:00 ISAS Meetingroom CD0112Lecture
Thu09.11.202312:00 - 14:00 ISAS Meetingroom CD0112Lecture
Thu16.11.202312:00 - 14:00 ISAS Meetingroom CD0112Lecture
Thu23.11.202312:00 - 14:00 ISAS Meetingroom CD0112Lecture
Thu30.11.202312:00 - 14:00 ISAS Meetingroom CD0112Lecture
Thu07.12.202312:00 - 14:00 ISAS Meetingroom CD0112Lecture
Thu14.12.202312:00 - 14:00 ISAS Meetingroom CD0112Lecture
Thu21.12.202312:00 - 14:00 ISAS Meetingroom CD0112Lecture
Thu11.01.202412:00 - 14:00 ISAS Meetingroom CD0112Lecture
Thu18.01.202412:00 - 14:00 ISAS Meetingroom CD0112Lecture
Thu25.01.202412:00 - 14:00 ISAS Meetingroom CD0112Lecture

Examination modalities

Discussion of different topics of the lecture.

Course registration

Begin End Deregistration end
02.10.2023 08:00 25.10.2023 23:59 25.10.2023 23:59



No lecture notes are available.


if required in English