Design Elements of Microsystems Technology


Microsystems are widely used in everyday technical objects as well as in complex mechanical engineering products (microphones and acceleration and magnetic field sensors in cell phones, pressure and flow sensors in cars, etc.). A detailed discussion of the wide variety of microsystems and their applications is impractical in the context of a lecture. However, it is possible to break down the multitude of microsystems available on the market to individual design elements in order to describe the properties and essential effects in their design. In this course, the participants are enabled to understand the interactions of microsystems and to analytically design their components in terms of all relevant design elements.


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Module overview

The course covers the in-depth technical knowledge for the calculation and design of basic microtechnical components. For different applications, the possibilities and limits of the production of microsystems are considered. Based on the understanding of the functionality of microtechnical components, the course introduces the main microtechnical effects such as capillary force, strain gauges, piezoelectric effect, etc.. This enables students to describe and explain the physical behavior and calculate the effect.
In addition to the lecture, students will be handed out an exercise that accompanies the lecture, which will be presented weekly in plenary.


Target audience

The course is intended for students of the master's degree program in mechanical engineering, automation technology, product development, production technology and industrial engineering specializing in mechanical engineering. The course will be held in German.

Recommended prerequisites:

  • Electrical Engineering/ Electronics
  • Mathematics (I-III)
  • Physics
  • Mechanics (I-II)


Within the scope of the course, the necessary knowledge for the calculation and design of basic microtechnical components for required applications is imparted. For example, students will be able to describe and explain the main effects in microtechnology such as capillary force, strain gauges, piezoelectric effect, etc. and calculate the effect. Furthermore, they will be able to identify which microtechnical components a given device is made of and thus describe and explain its function. In terms of content, the following points are covered:

  • Thin films
  • Conductors
  • Membranes
  • Strain gauges
  • Beams
  • Capillaries / Channels
  • Piezos
  • Bimorph
  • Planar light guides
  • Optical gratings


  • "Introduction to Microsystem Design" by W.K. Schomburg, 2nd edition (2015) Springer, Heidelberg, Berlin, ISBN 978-3-662-47023-7, available in the textbook collection of the RWTH library.
  • S.D. Senturia, "Microsystem Design," Kluwer Academic Publishers (2001), ISBN 0-7923-7246-8.
  • M. Elwenspoek, R. Wiegerink, "Mechanical Microsensors",Springer-Verlag (2001), ISBN 3-540-67582-5

The Instructor

Picture of Dr. Olivier Reinertz Copyright: © ifas

Dr.-Ing. Olivier Reinertz

Scientific Director , Institute for Fluid Power Drives and Systems