MEMS and Microsensors

Professor: Giacomo Langfelder
Teaching Assistants: Giorgio Mussi, Cristiano R. Marra

The aim of the course is to introduce the basic concepts of some types of electronic devices which allow to acquire physical chemical and biological information from the outside world and also to act on it on it at microscopic level. The attention is focused on the operating principles of optical image sensors and of Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems (MEMS). Their integration in more complex systems is also considered. The performances of these devices are discussed with particular reference to their biomedical applications. Class-works about specific case-studies as well as experimental laboratory activity are foreseen.

News and Communications

Welcome folks, in this page you will find the slides and the detailed and discussed solutions of numerical exercise!

The most updated course schedule is always available here!

NOTE: the last class cannot be held on Thursday 20th, due to extension of graduations through the afternoon. We will give this (facultative) last numerical exercise on Wednesday 19th, 4.30 PM to 6 PM, and we will be available for Q&A. Provisional room is Beta, Ed. 24, via Golgi 40.

Helpful slides, reviewing basics of electronics for non-electronic students, and focusing on the purpose of the course, have been added! Check further below on this page!

During the classes I will sometimes show results of some Finite Element Method (FEM) simulations. The corresponding videos are available here (now available also as GIF images).

Slides of the course

C01 Course Introduction

C02 MEMS Technology
C03 MEMS Spring Mass Damper
C04 MEMS Accelerometer Part 1
C05 MEMS Accelerometer Part 2
C06 MEMS Accelerometer Part 3
C07 MEMS Accelerometer Part 4
C08 MEMS Resonator Part 1
C09 MEMS Resonator Part 2
C10 MEMS Resonator Part 3
C11 MEMS Gyroscope Part 1
C12 MEMS Gyroscope Part 2
C13 MEMS Gyroscope Part 3
C14 MEMS Gyroscope Part 4
C15 MEMS Gyroscope Part 5
C16 MEMS Gyroscope Part 6
C17 MEMS Magnetometer Part 1
C18 MEMS Magnetometer Part 2
C19 MEMS Magnetometer Part 3
C20 MEMS Characterization Part 1
C21 MEMS Characterization Part 2

C22 CMOS Sensors Basics Part 1
C23 CMOS Sensors Basics Part 2
C24 CMOS APS3T Part 1
C25 CMOS APS3T Part 2
C26 CMOS APS3T Part 3
C27 CMOS APS4T Part 1
C28 CMOS APS4T Part 2


E01 Accelerometer Design
E02 Accelerometer Readout
E03 Torsional Accelerometer
E04 CAD Perfofated Capacitor
E05 Resonator Design
E06 Oscillator Design
E07 Gyroscope Mechanical Design
E08 Gyroscope Drive Design
E09 Gyroscope Sense Design
E10 Magnetometer design
E11 Magnetometer readout
E12 Microphone design
E13 CAD MEMS accelerometer
E14 CAD gyroscope redesign

E15 Photocurrent
E17 CAD pixel
E18 DR
E19 PTC and 4T APS

E20 Exam simulation

Review of basic electronics (focused for non-electronic students)

B01 photodiodes
B02 MOS noise
B03 eln basics


S01 MEMS clocks: small footprint timekeeping
S02 MEMS gyroscopes: design overview and market trends

Exams Text and Solution (use them for practice during exam preparation)

03/02/2016 - Text and Solution
17/02/2016 - Text and Solution
11/07/2016 - Text and Solution
13/09/2016 - Text and Solution
27/09/2016 - Text and Solution
30/01/2017 - Text and Solution
16/02/2017 - Text and Solution
03/07/2017 - Text and Solution
18/07/2017 - Text and Solution
08/09/2017 - Text and Solution
31/01/2018 - Text and Solution
21/02/2018 - Text and Solution
28/06/2018 - Text and Solution
13/07/2018 - Text and Solution
09/03/2018 - Text and Solution
09/01/2019 - Text and Solution
31/01/2019 - Text and Solution

MATLAB Scripts 

MATLAB routine #1 for sample Root Allan Variance visualization with different white noise, 1/f noise and offset drift. Enjoy...
MATLAB routine #2 for sample Photon Transfer Curve visualization as a function of different active pixel parameters. Enjoy...

Cadence Files

Cadence Tar file for Cad exercise on APS


Other Courses

Optoelectronic Systems and Digital Imaging

Professor: Giacomo Langfelder
Teaching Assistant: Paolo Minotti

The course covers the operation of some optoelectronic systems of general interest, starting from the characteristics of components and from the needs of the applications, in order to make the student is able to choose the most appropriate solutions, knowing the limits of use and performance theoretically achievable, and to design simple systems. Topics: 1) Systems for capturing digital images and resolution limits of optics and sensor. CCD and CMOS sensors; electronic signal reading; S / N ratio; dynamic range. Acquisition of color images. 2) Systems for the representation of colour images: LCD displays. Gamut. Backlight. 3) Systems for colour measurement: colour spaces and colour representation. Colorimeters and spectrophotometers. 4) Measurement of infrared signals: sensors. Applications to imaging and temperature measurement.

Slides of the course:
00 Introduction
01 Human Vision
02 Light Sources
03 Geometric Optics
04 Aberration Diffraction
05 FOV and DOF
06 Resolution MTF
07 Sensor MTF
08 Sensor Introduction
09 Active Pixel
10 HDR
11 4T and CDS
12 Color Acquisition
13 CFA and Demosaicking
14 System Noise
15 TFD
16 XYZ Color Space
17 Perceptual Color Spaces
18 Color Conversion
19 White Balance
20 Color Errors
21 Multispectral Imaging
22 Digital Imaging Simulations
23 Image Representation
24 Display Technologies
25 Vis+NIR Acquisition
26 Infrared Temperature Measurement
27 Auxiliary Subsystems

E01 Photodiodes Review
E02 Evaluation of the number of photons impinging on a camera pixel, starting from a generic scene
E03 Photography at known distances of known objects: choice of the camera parameters
E04 MOS and Noise Review
E05 Signal-to-Noise Ratio of a 3T APS for digital cameras
E06 Dynamic Range, choice of the ADC, maximum SNR of a 3T APS
E07 Timing issues in CMOS image sensors: maximum readout speed and rolling shutter readout
E08 Circuits for Correlated Double Sampling
E09 Photon Transfer
E10 Layered-junction sensor
E11 White Balance
E12 Color Instruments
E13 Summary Exercises
E14 Liquid-Cristal Display
E15 Image Sensor Design
E16 Temperature Monitoring
E17 Summary Exercises
Sample Exam


02-05-2016 "A 3-D Micromechanical Multi-Loop Magnetometer Driven Off-Resonance by an On-Chip Resonator" by G.Laghi et al. has been accepted for publication! Congratulations to all the co-authors!

01-07-2015 Three new instruments to complete the SandLab equipment for inertial sensor characterization! A 50 V high-resolution MCP by ITmems, a 50 MHz Lock-in amplifier by Zurich Instrument, and a new vibrating shaker from B&K!

01-07-2015. Two SandLab articles accepted for publication in the Journal of MEMS: "In-Plane and Out-of-Plane MEMS Gyroscopes Based on Piezoresistive NEMS Detection" by S. Dellea et al., and "A sub-400 nT/√Hz, 775 μW, multi-loop MEMS Magnetometer with Integrated Readout Electronics" by P. Minotti et al. Congratulations to all the co-authors! We look forward to see the published version!

NIRVANA - EU Project

01-09-2011. SanDLab started a new challenging project part of the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Union. This project goes under the acronym of NIRVANA.

01-01-2013. SanDLab started a new challenging project part of the ENIAC framework.