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Syllabus for the Major Field in MEMS/Nanotechnology

The written qualifying (preliminary) exam tests the mastery of core materials in the MEMS/Nano field as well as the fundamentals of science and engineering. The specific body of knowledge tested includes materials from all of the MEMS/Nano core courses, as well as two of the MEMS/Nano specialty courses listed below.


MEMS/Nano Core Courses:

1. Introduction to Micromachining and MEMS – MAE M280A (equiv. to EE M250A and BME M250A)

  • Essential technical background for lithography-based micromachining
  • Photolithography, vacuum systems, etching methods, deposition methods, and process integration


2. Introduction to Micromachining and MEMS Laboratory – MAE M280L (equiv. to EE M250L and BME


Prerequisite: Simultaneous enrollment in MAE M180

  • Hands-on micromachining experience in UCLA’s Microfabrication Laboratory.


3. MEMS Fabrication — MAE M280B (equiv. to EE M250B and BME M250B)

Prerequisite: MAE M180 and MAE M180L or equivalent, to be approved by the instructor

  • Background in MEMS fabrication for advanced R&D of MEMS
  • Surface micromachining and bulk micromachining
  • Non-lithographical micromachining such as LIGA and laser-assisted processing
  • Mechanical properties of thin film and residual stress
  • Process integration and issues of thermal budget


4. Nanoscience and Biotechnology—MAE M287

  • Basic physical, chemical, and biological principles in nano sciences
  • Nanoscale materials prepared by various methods
  • Top-down and bottom-up nano fabrication techniques
  • Nano characterization
  • Applications of nano technology on electronics, biology, medicine, energy, environment, etc.


MEMS/Nano Specialty Courses:


5. Microsciences—MAE 281

  • Issues of being in micrometers and nanometers in science and engineering
  • Important physical and chemical principles important in MEMS and Nanotechnology
  • Mechanical properties of materials in microscale
  • Surface tension and its relevance in MEMS
  • Single molecule mechanics
  • Molecular motors


6. Microscopic Energy Transport—MAE 231G

  • Basics of statistical thermodynamics/quantum mechanics
  • Microscopic transport theory
  • Applications to semiconductor electronic/optoelectronic devices
  • Applications to MEMS/NEMS devices
  • Applications to nanostructures
  • Applications to biological systems


7. MEMS Device Physics and Design— MAE M282 (equiv. to EE M252)

  • Prerequisite: MAE M280A (equiv. to EE M250A) or equivalent
  • Critical understanding of various transduction principles
  • Design, production, and characterization of MEMS devices
  • Sensing (piezoelectric, capacitive, magnetic, etc.)
  • Actuation (electrostatic, electromagnetic, thermal, piezoelectric, SMA, etc.)
  • Layout and design rules, Foundry services (MUMPs, MOSIS, SUMMiT, etc.)


8. Experimental Mechanics for Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS)—MAE M283

  • Methods, techniques, and philosophies to characterize micro/nano electromagnetomechanical systems
  • Material and mechanical property characterization
  • Crystallographic and anisotropic properties
  • Emerging approaches for micro/nano scale characterization
  • Biomechanical testing techniques


9. Sensors, Actuators, and Signal Processing—MAE284

  • Principles and performance of micro transducers
  • Design of experiments
  • Sensor and actuator spatial/temporal resolution, error analysis, uncertainty propagation, and data acquisition
  • Applications of micro transducers for distributed real-time control of systems


10. Interfacial Phenomena—MAE 285

  • Surface tension, surfactants, and interfacial forces
  • Interfacial thermodynamics
  • Interfacial hydrodynamics
  • Dynamics of the triple line
  • Applications to wetting, change of phase, foams and emulsions, MEMS, and
  • biological systems


11. Nanoscale Fabrication, Characterization, and Biodetection Lab— MAE C287L

Prerequisite: MAE M180 and MAE M180L or equivalent, to be approved by the instructor

  • Basic physical, chemical, and biological principles in nano-areas
  • Top-down and bottom-up nanofabrication techniques
  • Nano characterization techniques
  • Biosensing technology


12. Introduction to Micro/Nano Fluids

  • Fluid mechanics in macro and micro systems
  • Sedimentation
  • Diffusion
  • Osmotic pressure and equilibrium
  • Surface phenomena
  • Attractive van Waals interactions
  • The electrical double-layer and repulsive double-layer interactions
  • Electrophoresis and Zeta potential
  • Non-Newtonian fluid mechanics


Requirements for Ph.D. Major Field Students:

The basic program of study for the Ph.D. degree is built around the MEMS/Nano major field, one minor field, and three additional courses. There is no formal major field course requirement for the Ph.D. degree, but students must pass preliminary examination in MEMS/Nano field, which requires for the mastery of knowledge equivalent to the core courses for the field and specialty courses for the individual (see below). They should also satisfy the requirement for one minor field and successfully finish the three additional courses, of which at least two on the graduate level, approved by their faculty advisors.


Qualifying Examination:

After passing the preliminary exam and performing preliminary research on the dissertation topic, the student is ready to take the qualifying exam. The qualifying exam is in the form of oral presentation, but each student should prepare a prospectus that introduces the topic and outlines the research plan.

A qualifying exam committee needs to be formed with a composition that conforms to the following rules:

  • must consist of at least four ladder faculty members (i.e., assistant, associate, or full professors)
  • three faculty members must be within the department (your advisor is chair of this committee)
  • one faculty member must be from outside of the department
  • adjunct faculty members, industrial collaborators, and other non-academic advisors can serve on the committee as additional non-voting members


Ph.D. Dissertation:

A thesis must be completed under the direction of a faculty advisor. It must be signed by four faculty members, whose composition follows the following rules:

  • must consist of at least four ladder faculty members (i.e., assistant, associate, or full professors)
  • three faculty members must be within the department
  • one faculty member must be from outside of the department


M.S. Comprehensive Examination:

MAE students in the M.S. comprehensive examination plan can also take the preliminary exam to satisfy the requirement for a comprehensive exam for an M.S. degree.