EK2360 Hands-On Microelectromechanical Systems Engineering 7.5 credits

Projektkurs i mikrosystemteknik

Microsystems or Micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) are ubiquitous in our society. MEMS sensors and actuators are used for intelligent embedded systems interacting with their environment in various application fields, including automobiles, consumer electronics, telecommunication devices, medical technology, aeronautics and space.

This course is designed as a “hands-on” project course for students who would like to deepen their basic understanding of micro-electromechanical systems by actively designing, fabricating and evaluating different MEMS micro-actuator concepts.

The course is based on a few initial lectures for providing basic knowledge (20% of course) and on supervised project work as the main task (80%). The students are working in small teams (preferred size is 3 people), and the different teams are competing against each other in creating best-performance devices fulfilling the requirements of different application problems.

The students will have access to state-of-the-art tools in the design phase (professional FEM and layout software on CAD workstations), will actively fabricate their own devices in the KTH class-100 clean-room facilities, and will utilize semiconductor and MEMS measurement tools during device characterization and failure analysis.

  • Education cycle

    Second cycle
  • Main field of study

    Electrical Engineering
  • Grading scale

    A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Course offerings

Autumn 19 for programme students

Autumn 18 for programme students FULL

Intended learning outcomes

During the course, the student will gain in-depth knowledge and understanding on microsystems, with emphasis on different micro-electromechanical actuator types, on their working principles, concept and design, process technology, clean-room fabrication, device characterization, and failure analysis. Upon successfully completing the course, the student will be able to:

-      develop different concepts of microsystem actuators for real-world applications

-      design microsystem devices and adapt them to different application requirements

-      predict the behaviour of microsystem devices by (1) qualified guessing based on general understanding of the microsystem and the application; (2) rough estimation by using/adapting text book formulas; (3) accurate modelling and simulating by modelling using state-of-the-art multi-physics finite-element based design tools (FEM)

-      work out design concepts under consideration of fabrication-technology limitations

-      develop a fabrication process flow

-      carry out basic microsystem fabrication steps in a class-100 clean-room environment under the safety requirements of such an environment

-      characterize the devices for their electrical, mechanical, and thermal behaviour

-      identify failure mechanisms, conclude on device limitations and reflect on device improvements based on the characterization results of the prototype devices

-      write a project report summarizing design, fabrication, characterization, failure analysis, and potential future device improvements

-      present and defend the results to a critical audience

-      work in a small microsystem development team, including taking management responsibility from project plan writing to work distribution and task assignment to the team members

Course main content

EK2360 is a project course worth 7.5 ECTS credits, which is equivalent to 200 work hours of full-time study. As the course runs about 8 weeks, this implies that about 25 hours a week must be devoted to various course activities, including introductory lectures and reading of course material, together comprising about 20% of the course activities, and carrying out the project work, which comprises 80% of the course work.

The introductory lectures on basic MEMS design and fabrication, with special focus on the following project work, will be taught by the course responsible. Attendance of the introductory lectures is compulsory.

After the introductory lectures, a brief written intermediate examination will be carried out, assessing whether the knowledge and understanding of the student is sufficient for continuing with the actual project work.

The project work is supervised by senior PhD students and the course responsible.

The report writing and the final presentation and a brief post-discussion are supervised by the course responsible.


For single course students: 120 credits and documented proficiency in English B or equivalent

Recommended prerequisites

The course level is adapted to students enrolled in an engineering master programme at KTH.

The students must have basic knowledge in electrical engineering, engineering physics, or an equivalent basic education.

Student that are unsure about their pre-course knowledge should contact the course responsible in advance, in order to assess their qualification for participation.


Nödvändig kurslitteratur kommer att distribueras under kursen.

PDF-versioner av de inledande föreläsningsbilderna kommer att göras tillgängliga i förväg genom BILDA och är obligatorisk läsning före respektive föreläsning

För ytterligare läsning, särskilt för studenter med begränsade förkunskaper inom MEMS, rekommenderas följande böcker (ett begränsat antal exemplar finns tillgängliga för kursdeltagare hos Mikrosystemteknik, och kan också finnas på KTH-biblioteket):

-         Marc J. Madou, Fundamentals of Microfabrication: The Science of Miniaturization, CRC, 2:a upplagan (13 mars 2002), ISBN-10: 0849308267, ISBN-13: 978-0849308260

-         Gregory T. Kovacs, Micromachined Transducers Sourcebook, McGraw-Hill, 1:a upplagan (1 februari 1998), ISBN-10: 0072907223, ISBN-13: 978-0072907223

-         Sami Franssila, Introduction to Microfabrication, Wiley, 1:a upplagan (14 juni 2004), ISBN-10: 0470851066, ISBN-13: 978-0470851067


  • PRO1 - Project, 7.5, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Requirements for final grade

The student’s final grade in the course will be based on

-         attendance of the introductory lectures (pass/fail criteria)

-         performance on an intermediate assessment inform of a written examination test after the introductory lecture. The examination will test the student’s overall comprehension of the various topics covered in the lectures. It will mainly be used as a pass/fail criteria for the student being allowed to carry on with the practical course part, but will also be used to influence the of final mark (10%)

-         project work: overall evaluation of the project work of the project team as a whole, including the project report and the final project presentation to a critical audience, adding up to 90% of the final mark. Individual adjustments might be done. Criteria for the evaluation of project work, report, and presentation will be communicated before the start of the actual project work. The grading of the project work is given independent on the outcome of the student competition. The summary of the expected device performance after the design phase (see previous section) will not be used for determining the grade.

-         after the presentation, the course responsible will have a short discussion with the individual student teams, which might be used for adjusting the final mark of the teams and of the individuals

The course is worth 7.5 ECTS points; grading will be on a scale from A to F, with A being the highest mark and E being the lowest mark for passing the course, and F being a failing mark.

Offered by

EECS/Intelligent Systems


Joachim Oberhammer


Joachim Oberhammer <joachimo@kth.se>

Add-on studies

EK212X Degree Project in Electrical Measurements, Second Level
EK213X Degree Project in Microsystem technology, Second Level


Course syllabus valid from: Spring 2019.
Examination information valid from: Spring 2019.