Electrical Engineering 147 — Introduction to Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) (3 Units)

Course Overview


EE147 is the introductory course to microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), which are the basis for many modern IC sensors. It is an elective for circuit design, and is cross listed as a mezzanine graduate course.The course provides a general overview of the physics and manufacturing processes surrounding modern MEMS. The first half of the semester is spent studying fundamental mechanical and electrical models of MEMS. The second half is focused on device manufacturing processes as applied to MEMS, including some processes used in industry .


  • EE 16AB
  • Physics 7AB (recommended)

Topics Covered

  • Beam Bending Model
  • Mechanical Resonance
  • Comb Drive Actuation
  • Gap Closing Actuation
  • Accelerometers
  • Strain Gauges
  • Multiple Deposition and Etching Methods


Course Work

  • 1 homework assignment per week
  • 1 discussion section per week (optional)
  • 1 midterm
  • 1 final exam

Time Commitment

This course has a relatively light time commitment, with 3 hours of lecture, 1 hour of discussion, no lab, and a homework set each week. Expect each homework set to take approximately 5-7 hours each.

Choosing the Course

When to take

It is usually offered in the fall, and should be taken by juniors and seniors.

What's next?

  • EE143: Microfabrication Technology
  • EE247B: Intro to MEMS Design
  • EE290G: Advanced Topics in MEMS (usually after 247B)

Usefulness for Research or Internships

EE147 is an elective, so it is an excellent way to explore circuits fields. This course is the minimum requirement to join MEMS research groups (e.g. Pister, Maharbiz, Wu, Nguyen). It is also a great way to explore topics before graduate school. Internships generally will require a deeper level of understanding than EE147 gives (i.e. take the ‘next’ classes), but some people have received interviews with just this course.

Additional Comments/Tips

EE147 is relatively light, so it is an excellent elective for anyone on the EE side. This course uses a bit of everything from EECS lower division requirements, so brush up!

Last Updated: Summer 2020