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Hands-Online Microsystems Academy

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The Southwest Center for Microsystems Education (SCME) 
invites you to register for courses in the Hands-online Microsystems Academy 
for high school, community college, and university educators
  1. Career Pathways for Microtechnology (~5 hours) - available NOW!
  2. Crystallography/Bulk Micromachining (~6.5-10.5 hours) - available March 1
  3. Microcantilevers - available April 1
  4. BioMEMS Applications - available May 1
  5. Micro Pressure Sensors - available June 1
  6. Science of Thin Films - available July 1
See http://ow.ly/XB1Fn  for complete details and course descriptions.
All courses are asynchronous; once a course becomes available, you can work at your own pace and stop and start at any time. Tuition is paid by a grant from the National Science Foundation. 
REGISTER NOW:  http://ow.ly/XB26o 

Each Hands-online course contains all of the support materials you need (activities, videos, reading materials) to integrate a basic microtechnology concept into your STEM classes.
How will Hands-online help me in the classroom?
  • Receive personalized instruction from SCME. SCME will work with you online on how to use the materials, coach you one-on-one, and answer your questions.
  • Excite your students about a rewarding career in microtechnology.
  • Teach basic STEM concepts by using real applications of those concepts.
  • Your responsibility? Give SCME feedback on your and your students' classroom experiences.
 Have questions? Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please forward this email to your colleagues. 


SCME Hands-Online Microsytsems Academy Topic Descriptions

Below is a brief description of the topics available in 2016 through SCME's Hands-online Microsystems Academy.  Each topic includes reading materials, links to instructional videos, activities and assessments.  Once a topic is available, you can enroll at any time during 2016. 

Career Pathways for MicroTech

(available February 1, 2016)

Career Pathways for MicroTech covers areas that help you better understand microsystems technology and the various careers available.  Here are some of the questions that are answered as you go through this topic.

  • What are microsystems?  What are MEMS?CleanroomCareers
  • Where are they used?  What are their applications?

    How do they affect us today and how will they affect us in the future?

  • What types of careers are available?

  • What are the jobs?  Where are the jobs?
  • What are the skills required?

    How can one prepare for a career in microsystems technology?

  • Why do we need technicians NOW?


Much of the information, concepts and links introduced in this topic can easily be integrated into ANY course.  You could use this information to introduce your students to a very versatile, exciting, and lucrative career.


To register for one or more of SCME's Hands-online Academy topics, click the following link: http://svy.mk/1imGDhs


Crystallography with Bulk Micromachining

(available March 1, 2016)

Understanding crystal structures and crystal planes help engineers, technicians, and designers develop processes and choose materials that yield effective, long-lasting microsystems. It also helps one to better understand the processes and the desired outcomes  - information that is needed to identify, troubleshoot and solve problems that may occur during the process of building a microsystem.

In this topic you explore concepts related to crystallography and their applications in microsystem technology.  You observe, study and demonstrate several concepts related to crystallography and bulk micromachining.  This topic includes the following activities.

  • The Miller Index Activity - This activity provides the tools to navigate within a crystal and identify the planes of the crystal using Miller notation. (Miller notation utilizes the Cartesian coordinate system.)
  • BulkEtchSiliconWaferBreaking Wafers Activity - This activity applies destructive testing to learn more about crystal structures and how crystals such as diamonds use different cleavage planes to produce multi-faceted jewels and how microtechnology uses crystal planes to fabricate specific shapes such as pressure chambers and microfluidic channels.
  • Bulk Micromachining - An Etch Process Activity - This activity uses an actual pressure sensor process chip to demonstrate and observe the anisotropic etching of silicon in a sodium hydroxide solution. (Personal protective equipment as well as a fume hood are required to complete this activity.)


SCME's "Crystallography Kit" supports some of the activities in this topic. 

SCME's "Bulk Micromachining Kit" supports the Bulk Micromachining Activity.

The concepts taught in this topic can be applied to mathematics, physics, chemistry, earth science, material science, electronics, engineering, and micro and nanotechnologies.


To register for one or more of SCME's Hands-online Academy topics, click the following link:  http://svy.mk/1imGDhs



(Available April 1, 2015)

The microcantilever is a widely used component in microsystem devices.  Its flexibility and versatility make it a popular component for diverse applications in a number of fields (e.g., environmental, biomedical, consumer products, food production).  This topic discusses several applications of electromechanical systems (MEMS) cantilevers and microcantilever-based devices, how they work, and how they are made.

In this topic you explore applications of microcantilevers as transducers, sensors, and actuators in microsystems. You learn how a cantilever works, its characteristics, its properties, and its modes of operation.

The primary activity for this topic involves an in-depth microcantilever graphicstudy of dynamic cantilever operation and the effect that material, dimensions, and mass have on the operation of the device. The SCME "Microcantilever Model Kit" provides the materials that allow you to investigate the motion of a dynamic cantilever under varying masses and various dimensions in order to determine the relationship that expresses the resonant frequency of a cantilever as a function of mass or size.  This activity simulates the dynamic mode of operation for microcantilevers used in MEMS sensors. 

The concepts explored in this topic can be applied to physics, mathematics, chemistry, engineering, materials science, data acquisition, and micro and nanotechnologies.


To register for one or more of SCME's Hands-online Academy topics, click the following link:  http://svy.mk/1imGDhs


BioMEMS Applications

BioMEMS is a HUGE field that is growing at an extremely rapid pace.  The field of BioMEMS includes any microdevice that is used for medical applications, biological analysis, or that employs a biomolecular component.  In this topic you explore many of the areas of BioMEMS and some specific applications currently used for diagnosing disease, treating disease, analyzing specimens, analyzing environments, and identifying specific genomes.

The activities in this topic range from an exploration of DNA to how microtechnology allows for the identification of a specific DNA sequence, and from a size comparison of biomolecules to the use of biomolecules in microsystem devices. Some of the activities are online tutorials and others involve research or a comparison of the size of biomolecular components.  Below are some of the activities you can complete:

  • Exploration of DNA Concepts and Applications  DNAMicroarrayGraphic
  • Protein Structure and Function
  • Gene Transcription
  • Biomolecular Functions
  • The Scale of Biomolecules
  • Marketing a BioMEMS Device
  • Building a DNA Microarray Model

SCME's "DNA Microarray Model Kit" supports the latter of these activities.


The concepts taught in this topic can be applied to biology, general science, biomedical, biotech mathematics, organic chemistry, genetics, nursing, and micro and nanotechnologies.


To register for one or more of SCME's Hands-online Academy topics, click the following link:  http://svy.mk/1imGDhs


Micro Pressure Sensors (PS)

Micro pressure sensors are MEMS components designed to measure absolute or differential pressures.  They convert physical quantities such as airflow and liquid levels into pressure values that are measured by electronic sensing circuits such as the Wheatstone bridge.  Micro pressure sensors are found in cars, airplanes, mobile devices, gaming devices, athletic devices and medical devices. They are one of the fastest growing MEMS components due to their versatility, size, reliability, and application potential.

In this topic you explore applications of micro pressure sensors,MicroPSKitsetup how they work, and how they are fabricated.  The primary activity for this topic is to build a micro PS model using materials supplied in the SCME kit "Modeling a Micro Pressure Sensor".  On the model PS, you construct a Wheatstone bridge as a sensing circuit. After studying how a Wheatstone bridge works, you apply this knowledge to an analysis of your PS model.  You test the model's operation as pressure is applied and develop calibration curves that show the sensor's changes in voltage as different pressures are applied.

The concepts introduced and explored in this topic can be applied to electronics, physics, materials science, chemistry, mathematics, data acquisition and analysis, and micro and nanotechnologies.


To register for one or more of SCME's Hands-online Academy topics, click the following link:  http://svy.mk/1imGDhs


Science of Thin Films

Microsystems use several types of thin films (e.g., oxides, nitrides, metals) to fabricate micro-sized devices.  Some films, such as nitrides, are used as structural layers while others, such as metals, are used as conductors.  Thin films are deposited or grown on a surface using numerous deposition techniques.  Each film has its own characteristics and properties.  This topic explores some of these characteristics and properties as well as the processes used to deposit these films.

SCME's "Science of Thin Films Kit" uses a rainbow wafer RainbowWaferto introduce the characteristics of silicon dioxide (oxide) and to provide an actual oxide wafer from which you can extract data to determine oxide thickness and etch rates.  You can also use this wafer to study light interference with different layers of oxide. A rainbow wafer is an oxide layered silicon wafer that has been etched using a manual process, resulting in several different thicknesses of oxide.  In the picture, each color is a different thickness of silicon dioxide.

The activities in Science of Thin Films include interpreting logarithmic graphs, calculating etch rates, and estimating the line of best fit for an etch rate curve.  You are also asked to estimate the oxide thicknesses of the rainbow wafer by the color seen when light goes through the transparent thin film at a specific angle.

The concepts introduced and explored in this topic can be applied to chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering, and micro and nanotechnologies.


To register for one or more of SCME's Hands-online Academy topics, click the following link:  http://svy.mk/1imGDhs

For more information about Hands-online or any of its topics, contact MJ Willis: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Hands-online Microsystems Academy

SCME's Hands-online Academy is coming in 2016 but registration starts NOW...

SCME is providing a series of hands-online educational topics for high school, community college and university educators.  Hands-online is a new series of training developed by SCME to remotely support and facilitate microsystems education by providing easy access to online curriculum classroom materials and personalized coaching.

Click on over to learn more about SCME's Hands-online Microsystems Academy!


SCME Hands-Online Microsystems Academy - Coming in 2016!

We need microsystems technicians NOW!

Microtechnology affects us on a daily basis through the cars we drive, the mobile devices we use, the health tracking devices we wear, and some of the games we play (just to name a few).  Data is constantly being generated by micro-sized sensors inside these devices and collected by the Internet of Things (IoT).  This is microtechnology. This is the present and the future. We need technicians NOW to keep up with the ever-growing demand for microsystems.

Do you want to get your students excited about a challenging and rewarding career in microsystems technology?

Do you want materials and assistance for integrating microsystems technology to teach STEM concepts in your classes?

Are you willing to dedicate your on time to learn a new topic and activity if it could all be done online and around your schedule?

Are you willing to integrate activities into a class and provide SCME with detailed feedback on the effectiveness of the activities in your classroom?

If you answer YES to these questions, then SCME's Hands-online Academy is for you.  The Hands-online Academy is designed to remotely support and facilitate microsystems education by providing online, easy access to a variety of topics, supporting classroom materials, and personalized coaching.

Each topic provides the educational materials (reading materials, videos, and hands-on activities) needed to teach fundamental STEM concepts using microsystems applications.  Many of the activities are supported with a SCME kit, available for purchase or free to those who qualify.

What are the topics in SCME's Hands-online Academy? 

(Click on the link for more details on the following topics: Topic Descriptions)

  1. Career Pathways in MicroTech (MEMS) (~5 hours) - available NOW!
  2. Crystallography with Bulk Micromachining (~6.5 -11.5 hours) - available March 1, 2016
  3. Microcantilevers - available April 1, 2016
  4. BioMEMS Applications - available May 1, 2016
  5. Micro Pressure Sensors - available June 1, 2016
  6. Science of Thin Films - available July 1, 2016

To register for one or more of these topics, click this link: http://svy.mk/1imGDhs

If you need more information, then keep reading.

If a topic requires a SCME kit, you may request a free kit.  In order to receive a free kit, you must agree to integrate at least one of the kit/topic activities into a class AND provide SCME with detailed feedback on your experience and those of your students.  You must also be an educator within the United States.  Educators outside the United States can purchase a kit at any time through the SCME Kit Store by clicking this link:  http://bit.ly/1NpeDCp   Free kits are available only while supplies last.

NOTE:  Some of the materials, activities, and kits in Hands-online may be applicable to middle-school students.

Before introducing the materials and activities to your class, SCME will provide coaching online to help you with any questions you may have after the completion of the topic.  We can show you how to use the kit, we can watch you as you use the kit, and we can coach you through any problems you may run into before, during and after integration.

How does SCME's Hands-online Academy work?

  1. You will be given 24/7 access to the online topic for you to study, refer to, and to use in your classroom.
  2. When you are ready, we send you a free kit (if you qualify).
  3. After going through the kit, if you feel like you need additional instruction, then you request a hands-online session with a SCME coach.  During the online session, you will receive one-on-one coaching to answer all of your questions and to ensure that you are ready and comfortable before introducing the topic/activity to your students.

What do YOU have to do?

  1. Complete all online topic requirements before receiving a kit.
  2. Commit to integrate some of the material into your class(es).
  3. Provide feedback via a questionnaire as well as a one-on-one discussion with our evaluator as to your experience and those of your students.

Once a topic is available, it will be available indefinitely.  You will have unlimited access to the topic and its materials.  You can also schedule a coaching session with SCME any time after the availability date of a topic, whenever you are ready.

Sound good?  Then what are you waiting for?

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER for Hands-online: http://svy.mk/1imGDhs

Still undecided?  Need more information?  If so, please contact MJ Willis:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

SCME's Micro Cleanroom Experience Workshop July 2015

This workshop is by invitation ONLY. 

SCME is offering a Micro Cleanroom Experience Workshop to participants that completed previous SCME sponsored Microsystems-related professional development events.  The purpose of this workshop is to provide more in-depth knowledge and experience of microfabrication processes and skills required of technicians working in a microfabrication (cleanroom) facility.

There are three mandatory components to this workshop:

  1. Introductory one-hour orientation webinar
  2. Online pre-cleanroom experience assignments covering cleanroom safety and processes
  3. 4-hours of hands-on experience working in the cleanroom environment, processing a silicon wafer

Below is a description of each workshop component:

Read more: SCME's Micro Cleanroom Experience Workshop July 2015


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