This paper presents the implementation and outcomes of a hands-on laboratory course in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), co-developed by a multidisciplinary team of faculty from mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and materials engineering. Central to the design of the course is an emphasis on implementing modules that are able to overcome critical barriers related to (1) diverse academic background from different majors and (2) practical limitations in microfabrication facilities. These points are vital for promoting MEMS education, because they expand the student pool and reach audiences that need a cost-effective way to support instructional laboratory experiences in MEMS without the broader infrastructure that is often limited only to large research institutions. Laboratory projects emphasize skills in design, fabrication, and testing, while a classroom lecture portion of the course provides corresponding background theory. The paper provides technical description of three modular projects that have been implemented in the course. These encompass a variety of MEMS fabrication approaches, including surface micromachining, bulk micromachining, and soft lithography. These distinct methods are exercised in three corresponding devices: a silicon pressure sensor, an aluminum suspended beam, and a polymer microfluidic chip. These projects illustrate principles and reinforce student learning of important phenomena commonly involved in MEMS, such as piezoresistivity, electrostatics, stiction, residual stress, and electrokinetics. The modules are arranged with different levels of emphasis among design, fabrication, and testing, to reach higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy while simultaneously balancing time and resource constraints in a practical manner. Feedback from student opinions and plans for improvement are also presented.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/stacy_gleixner/5/