Institute of Microstructure Technology (IMT)

Polymers in MEMS B - Physics, Manufacturing and Applications


We all come in contact with numerous polymeric products in everyday life. From water bottles to packaging to the cover of the iPad, many things are made of polymers. Polymers are also important materials for modern microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) allowing cost effective mass market compatible products, e.g., in the life sciences or diagnostics. But polymers are not just cost-effective replacements for more expensive classical materials in MEMS (such as, e.g., silicon) – some polymers have intrinsic properties that make them ideal materials for sensors, actuators or templates for biology and chemistry in MEMS.

This lecture will introduce the basics of physics and material science required for the understanding of the mechanical behavior seen from the engineers view. Micro and nanostructuring of polymers allows the fabrication of micro parts fulfilling their tasks in mostly invisible different applications. But also the fabrication of polymer parts with functional surfaces inspired from Bionics will be presented in this lesson. The lesson will give further an overview over the polymer based structuring processes and will underline the importance by a number of applications e.g. photonic structures or Lotus-like structures.

Some of the topics covered are:

  • How can polymers described from the view of engineers?
  • What are the differences between polymers and metals?
  • Rheology of polymer melts – How does polymer melts flow?
  • How can polymers be formed and demolded?
  • Which structuring processes (replication) processes are available?
  • How does stress influence molded parts (e.g. the deformation of a CD in a hot car)
  • Shrinkage of polymers – which precision is achievable
  • Gluing or welding – How can polymers be assembled?
  • Simulation of replication processes
  • Characterization of polymers – which properties can be measured?

The lecture will be given in German language unless non-German speaking students attend. In this case, the lecture will be given in English (with some German translations of technical vocabulary). The lecture slides are in English language and will be handed out for taking notes. Additional literature is not required.

For further details, please contact the lecturer, PD Dr.-Ing. Matthias Worgull (matthias worgullZhz6∂kit edu). Preregistration is not necessary.

The examination will be held in oral form at the end of the lecture. The lecture can be chosen as “Nebenfach” or part of a “Hauptfach”. The second lecture of the lecture series “„Polymers in MEMS A – Chemistry, synthesis and applications ” (which is also held in winter semester) can be combined with this lecture as part of a “Hauptfach”. In summer semester, the third part of the lecture series “Polymers in MEMS C – Biopolymers, Biopolymers and applications” will be given which may be combined with lectures and B to form a complete “Hauptfach”.


Aims of the lecture

The aim of the lecture is providing mechanical or chemical engineers, as well as interested students from the life or material sciences the basic knowledge required for understanding what polymers are and how they are made, highlighting their importance for modern MEMS systems with a wide view to applications in everyday life.



Bachelor (or equivalent level) students with basic knowledge in material science and mechanical engineering. The lecture will cover all the basics required for understanding. Detailed knowledge of microsystem technology and it’s processes is helpful but not mandatory.