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MiNDS (Micro-Nano Device and Systems)

100513 RH 0233.1

The courses and related projects developed by the team are available to all undergraduate technical majors of junior class standing regardless of specific discipline, making the program one of the first efforts to bring the micro technology to a general undergraduate audience. Since the time of the original grant the program has grown both in size and in scope. Currently multi-disciplinary teams of faculty and students are involved in a wide variety of micro and nano technology related projects and course work spanning the fields of material science, chemical detection, optics, power generation and Bio-MEMS.As the nation's leader in undergraduate engineering, math and science education, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology continually seeks to push the boundaries of the student's experience. In 2002 multi-disciplinary team of faculty from several different departments acquired a $400,000 W. M. Keck Foundation grant to launch a program to teach micro-electrical-mechanical systems (MEMS) technology to undergraduate students. The original grant was supplemented by equipment donations from ON Semiconductor and the renovation of a cleanspace by the Institute, which brought a hands-on lab component to the program.


Two lab-based courses are currently taught in the MiNDS area. Courses are cross-listed in six different academic departments and are open to all Rose students of junior or senior class standing.


Over the past few years, an average of 36 students per year have taken the introductory course, 83% of which have been undergraduates. An average of 12 students per year go on to take the advanced course. Eight different academic department have been represented within the courses.


The MiNDS program is actively involved in a number of ongoing research projects both

within the areas of micro/nanotechnology and pedagogy. Some highlights include:

MEMS Lab - Close Up
MEMS Projects

  • Meeting Educational Milestones - Enhancing multidisciplinary undergraduate microelectronic education using a "heads-on" MEMS laboratory experience (NSF grant #0311400)
  • Shape-Memory-Alloy MEMS: Heat engine, energy scavenger and actuation
  • Thin Film Deposition: Improve Reliability of Missile Battery Igniter
  • Microfluidics: Chemistry Lab-on-a-chip
  • Design-Simulation- Characterization
  • MUMPs: Heat actuators and Mirrors

Nanoscale Projects

  • Nanomagnetics: Data Storage
  • Saturable Multiple Quantum Wells: Optical Switching & ADC
  • Carbon Nano-Tubes: Supercapacitor and Energy Storage Application
  • Nano Porous Silica: Water Treatment & Photocatalysis


  • A. Siahmakoun, T. Adams, E. Wheeler, and S. Kirkpatrick, S., "Undergraduate MEMS-Nano Courses for Everyone," Proceedings of MRS 2006 Conference, San Francisco, CA, April 17-21, 2006
  • T. M. Adams, S. R. Kirkpatrick, Z. Wang, and A. Siahmakoun, "NiTi Shape Memory Alloy Thin Films Deposited by Co-Evaporation", Materials Letters, 59 (10), 1161-1164 (2005)
  • Z. Wang, S. R. Kirkpatrick, T. M. Adams, and A. Siahmakoun, "TiNi MEMS Heat Engine", Proceedings of SEM X International Congress & Exposition, Costa Mesa, CA (2004)
  • A. Siahmakoun, S. Kirkpatrick, and T. Adams, "Shaped memory alloy TiNi heat actuator," Nano and Microsystems Technology and Metrology, Redstone Arsenal, AL, Nov. 17-18, 2004
  • T. M. Adams, "An Undergraduate MEMS Course for Everyone" Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition, Salt Lake City, UT. (Recipient of Best Paper Award)

In addition to the 2002 W. M. Keck Foundation grant, an NSF-CCLI grant of $80,000 to upgrade the sputtering system was obtained in 2003, and in 2004 an NSF-MRI grant of $130,000 was obtained to purchase an X-ray Diffraction system. In addition to the fabrication equipment, a variety of metrology and testing systems are available both within and without the clean space.

Equipment currently available in the MiNDS program includes:

Fabrication Facility

  • Oxidation and diffusion furnaces
  • E-beam evaporator
  • Wet chemical processing stations
  • Contact Aligner with IR backside Align
  • Projection aligner
  • Spin-rinse-dry system
  • Plasma Asher
  • Photoresist spinner system
  • Wafer dicing system
  • Deionized water filtration system
  • Ultra-clean work-space
  • Sputtering system
  • Critical-point dry apparatus
  • Anodic bonding apparatus
  • High-temperature diffusion furnace

Metrology and Testing Systems

  • X-Ray diffraction System
  • AFM STM system
  • Optical Thin film measurement system
  • Scanning-electron microscope
  • Leak detector
  • 4 HP Tablets computers
  • Optical Microscope
  • Micromanipulator system (2)
  • Digital image processing system
  • MEMS driver electronics
  • Four-point probe

For more information, contact the Director MiNDS, Azad Siahmakoun, Professor of Physics & Optical Engineering.