Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

MEMS device research between EE/Physics/Math

  1. Dec 16, 2011 #1

    In designing and developing semiconductor/micro-electronic devices, what is the difference in research done between Physics, Mathematics and Electrical Engineering departments?

    Some Applied Mathematics departments work on numerical modelling and simulation of semiconductor devices, but, are also closely associated with EE and Physics departments.

    Does EE departments use analytical methods alone to design new devices?

    What is the underlying difference in research done between the three departments on the same subject?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 24, 2012 #2
    At the University of New Mexico, the EE Department faculty use a great many methods to design new devices. Experimental methods using MEMS devices, wafer designs based upon chemistry properties, optical properties of lithography systems... For an EE in a micro / nano environment every form of modeling and analytical methods are used.

    No one system of effort fits all insightful needs.

    I would say that most of the EE department is very hands-on; we have our own machine shop where we produce our own jigs and housings for the experimental setups.

    We have our own microsystems fab where we can design and then fabricate microsystems devices, laser diodes, specialty transistors, MEMS sensors....

    The physics department is also hands-on doing much, if not all of the same hands-on efforts as the EE's. The physics department has their own accelerator and plasma physics lab. So they are often in our machine shop producing apparatus.

    I do not think the Applied Mathematics department has attempted to accumulate any equipment. It is rare that a mathematician is in our labs. If they have such interest, they end up coming over and working with our Faculty. Generally EE's will use Matlab, Mathematica... to fit equations to a dataset.

    Not to say they don't have value. Whenever an equation of approximation is needed in a complex environment, the Applied Math faculty can always fit some form of function more precisely, or more easily relate two or more systems of relationships than the EE's. So for modeling any physics related systems the Applied Mathematics department is critical.
    Last edited: May 24, 2012
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook