In 2003, Benedetto Vigna mused that a key to successful MEMS design was “lateral thinking of ‘Leonardo-like’ MEMS engineers … who have a breadth of skills and knowledge in technological processes, materials science, mechanical and electronic design and strong physics background.”  For those of us who are not “Leonardo-like,” how do we go about learning how to design a MEMS device?
If you are just getting started, the classic reference textbook for MEMS design is Microsystem Design by Stephen Senturia . This book offers an introduction to MEMS and MEMS design, a discussion of microfabrication, as well as modeling strategies and physics domain considerations for MEMS, circuit, and system-level design.
For those seeking to study MEMS design at a university setting, several universities in the United States and around the world offer courses in the fundamentals of Micro and Nano Electromechanical Systems. Here is a list of some of the universities in the United States that have research laboratories dedicated to the study of MEMS and NEMS:
For students seeking shorter, non-degree training on MEMS design, these institutions offer courses on general principles of MEMS:
Coventor, a Lam Research Company, offers software and training for MEMS design using CoventorMP®. Its CoventorMP software platform provides a unified environment for MEMS design, starting from fully parametric design entry to the production of functional models that can be simulated at all levels of abstraction. Within one interface, a user can build a MEMS device and assign material, mechanical, and electrical properties. The user can also easily simulate device behavior, using a collection of built-in physics models. You can even see how a MEMS device behaves within its larger circuit or system, to simulate the behavior of your final finished product. The software includes examples and tutorials that demonstrate how to design and simulate accelerometers, gyroscopes, pressure sensors, microphones, actuators, micromirrors, microbolometers, switches, resonators, and more.
Coventor also provides design-specific training and support for its customers, and CoventorMP is used as a teaching tool in many of the world’s leading university programs. CoventorMP makes it easier than ever for anyone to learn MEMS design and quickly test their new design ideas.
With the academic research, training, and software tools available today, the “Leonardo-like,” multi-disciplinary capabilities previously required to design MEMS are now within reach of anyone who wants to become a MEMS designer.