F. Chollet, HB. Liu

A (not so) short introduction to MEMS

The (not so) short introduction to MEMS was originally supposed to become a book chapter in a handbook of a leading scientific editor, but was finally never published. At that stage, instead of trying to publish it through another company and the chapter finally ending in a book at an exorbitant price, we thought we could do a better job and propose it for free for all MEMS addicts around here that can not afford a more expensive one.

Of course we don't intend to replace the existing excellent MEMS references books with hundreds of page (at least for now :-), but we believe that this (not so) short introduction can be used as a support for a first experience in MEMS, either self-taught or even in a class environment. However, note that the initial purpose of the introduction has somehow skewed the choice of the section, and it is more intended for persons having already some experience in micro-electronics fabrication process.

Additionally, we would be thrilled if this book could be used as a nucleus for a free mems encyclopedia! If you have a topic that you would want to expand or contribute, do not hesitate to contact us!
Of course, although the chapter went through the editor's hands, it is certainly not exempt from errors, and we welcome all corrections!

Actually an online book has a big advantage over a print book - it is far less costly to do a new edition, be it a large change or a very small one!

If you want to be informed when a new edition of The (not so) short introduction to MEMS is released, please leave your email address in the box below:

Email address:

We swear we will only use it for what we said - and you should only get about one or two emails per year (although you can pray for more :-).

Download version 5.4 from August 2018 ! [PDF (7.5MB, 299 pages)] [LaTeX source] [BIBTeX reference]
(If you have difficulty downloading the file please contact us. Thanks!)

A (not so) short introduction to MEMS


  • Make a printed book available through Print-on-demand
  • Compile an HTML version from the LateX source
  • Revamp the lithography section to introduce better the available choices
  • Expand the characterization section
  • Expand the section on microfluidics to include BioMEMS applications
  • Add a section on Optical MEMS (for those who want a primer, look at this open review paper from the same authors).
  • Make a section on MEMS control
  • Add more solved problems


version 5.4 - 08/2018 - 7575kB - 299 pages (above 300 we would have changed big version number !)

  • Completed and corrected the section on microfluidics
  • Added detail on what is a cleanroom
  • Added a section on process tolerance and design rules
  • Added - at last - a few problems detailed solutions!
  • Corrected errors and typo

version 5.3 - 09/2016 - 7146kB - 275 pages

  • Added a section on microfluidics to set the ground for the future BioMEMS section
  • Added the scroll pump in vacuum actuators
  • Added a few problems in microfluidics...
  • Corrected errors and typo

version 5.2 - 04/2015 - 6461kB - 258 pages

  • Added a complete section on vacuum technology - pumps, sensors...
  • Added a long example in packaging chapter
  • Added a few more problems adapted from past exam subjects - still to few solved ones...
  • Corrected errors in many places
  • Changed design to modeling in chapter 2
  • Used a file structure with multiple tex input files (one per chapter) instead of a single file
  • Updated the python script to help publish this document online (in addition to producing the table of content for this page, the script generates a single tex file for publishing from the multiple sub-files used in reality)

version 5.1 - 11/2013 - 5661kB - 238 pages

  • Started to add a section on MEMS characterization - to be expanded!
  • Added stuff on electrostatic actuation and sensing
  • Corrected errors in many places

version 5.0 - 10/2012 - 4987kB - 208 pages

  • Completely revamped the design chapter adding a lot on linear system - many pages and examples, worth a full digit bump!
  • Added stuff on piezoelectric actuator
  • Added many examples - including a few really interesting :-)
  • At last published the line drawing in SVG - yeah ! We use a python script to parse the LaTeX file and generate the HTML Table of Content and the links to the SVG files. Use and adapt it if you need that... (actually there are problems with some converted text, it will be fixed later... fixed 15/10/2012 now all SVG figures should be OK!)
  • Added a cover complete with QR-code for those who would want to print this file as a... book
  • Changed the page layout to reduce page numbering (would have 228 pages with old layout, that's 50% more than previous version :-)
  • Obtained an ISBN - 978-2-9542015-0-4

version 4.1 - 05/2011 - 3984kB - 152 pages

  • Added many figures to microfabrication chapter
  • Updated - with figures ! - the introduction
  • Corrected some issues in packaging chapter
  • Added the version number on cover :-)

version 4.0 - 06/2010 - 3721kB - 135 pages

  • Finally added the chapter on packaging - 20 pages, many figures, well worth a full digit bump for the version!
  • Added more stuff on anisotropic etching
  • Updated the affiliation

version 3.0 - 03/2009 - 2009kB - 107 pages

  • Reorganized (again) the chapter order, by splitting chapter Design and Technology in 2 parts, with design appearing before fabrication, but technology remaining after - better that way, and what we intended during last reshuffle
  • Added a whole lot of details about the process: oxidation, doping, PVD, CVD, plasma etching...

version 2.5 - 05/2008 - 1862kB - 88 pages

  • Added information on microfluidic channel and electro-osmosis
  • Added information in the mechanical structures on hinge
  • Improved the electrostatic actuation section
  • Added a few more problems
  • Added an Index (start to be really not too short...)

version 2.1 - 07/2007 - 1453kB - 74 pages

  • Added section in chapter 2 on mechanical structure (to be expanded...)
  • Added section in chapter 3 on patterning and pattern transfer
  • Added some problems in chapter 2 and 3 from original past exam papers :-) More to come! If you want the solution send us an email from your official account, and only Faculty member can apply :-)
  • Cleaned-up the look of tables

version 2.0.1 - 03/2007 - 1314kB - 56 pages

  • bug fix in the URL of the license (reporter: Gengis Kanhg)
  • Added BiBTeX reference to website as suggested by Gengis Kanhg

version 2.0 - 09/2006 - 1314kB - 56 pages

  • Rewrite and expansion of section 3 "How MEMS are made"
  • Style and spelling check throughout the complete chapter... more to go!
  • Conversion to LaTeX (which make sense with the book title, which is without a doubt, an hommage to the famous LaTeX introduction :-)
  • Publication of the text source

version 1.0 - 01/2006 - 986kB - 41 pages

  • Initial publication of a PDF converted MS Word document
  • Publication under a Creative Commons License BY-NC