UPPSALA UNIVERSITY : Dept. of. Engineering Sciences : Div. of Micro Systems Technology
Uppsala universitet

Division of Micro Systems Technology

The Seal of Uppsala University,
etched in silicon, and a human hair.

In microsystems technology (MST), micro- and millimetre-sized components and systems are studied, developed and used as a multidisciplinary extension of microelectronics to domains such as mechanics, optics, electromagnetism and fluidics.

MST is often interdisciplinary in its nature and described with words like enabling and disruptive since it offers features and performance that are scarcely accessible or realizable through the development of conventional technology. MST-based products are used in virtually all sectors of society. Common components are miniaturized sensors and actuators, resonators for time keeping and RF filters, structures for handling microscopic flows in chemical and medical analysis or ink-jet printers, and microoptical elements for projectors and displays.

Research and development in MST require good understanding in materialsí physical and chemical properties, transformation mechanisms from one physical domain to another, the opportunities and constraints associated to process technologies, scaling phenomena, and interface problems. The design of microsystems is usually based on iterative multi-physics modelling and puts particularly high demands on the knowledge of manufacturing and evaluation aspects. Because of the smallness, and for economic reasons, processing is similar to that of microelectronics: often batch-wise with large numbers of, in themselves, simple but critical, process steps that are evaluated by frequent inspection using sophisticated imaging and measuring instruments. Once manufactured, customized setups are often needed in order to characterize microdevices and microsystems, wherefore the development of apparatus and measurement techniques is a natural part of MST research.

The major general challenges of MST include increasing the level of integration, process yield, insulation, gradients, and reliability; considering interfaces of all types, and using appropriate materials and components; reaching highly efficient multifunctional systems that are not burdened with large dead volumes and high noise levels.

The Department of Engineering Sciences has research groups that, from a materials science and utilization-oriented perspective, are working with small sensors, motors, valves, pumps, reactors and analysis systems. Large and long-term activities take place in externally funded research centres. The MST programme actively collaborates with a wide range of companies and has contributed to the creation of new businesses, which currently have several hundred employees.