CNM Team Wins MEMS Design Competition

May 21, 2014 -- A CNM team of students from the School of Applied Technologies was the winner of the 2014 Educational Design Category at the Sandia National Laboratories MEMS Design Competition earlier this month.

Jul 17, 2015


The competition was hosted by the Southwest Center for Microsystems Education at the University of New Mexico.

MEMS stands for Micro Electro Mechanical Systems.

The winning team, consisting of students Ray Nance and Thaddeus Foster, submitted a design of a micro pump, which was engineered to provide a way to teach students about micro pump design and theory. The students designed the parts of the pump system so that they can be used like “Legos” – the different parts can be put together in the CAD software to build a complete system.

Nance is a teacher at ASK Academy in Rio Rancho, where he will be instructing a dual credit Intro to MEMS course in the fall. Foster is a student seeking new skills for a career change after a successful career in construction. He will finish his associate degree in Advanced Systems Technology with a Microsystems and Laser Optics Concentration at the end of this year.

CNM has been participating in the competition since 2004, taking first place in 2006 and again this year, said Matthias W. Pleil, Ph.D., who teaches a spring MEMS Design course at CNM as part of the Advanced Systems Technology program. Last year, a CNM team received an honorable mention in the Novel Design Category for their MEMS robotic arm.

The competition is built around designing Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) devices on a 3-by-6 millimeter chip based on Sandia’s SUMMiT V design software and process.

Pleil noted that as part of his class, he asks students to design a MEMS device. The best designs are submitted to the contest and compete with other colleges and universities from around the country. The designs are reviewed by a panel of professional judges who give the students feedback on their work.

There were several other students in Pleil‘s spring class, including a senior from Eldorado High School who took the Intro to MEMS class in the fall, followed by the MEMS Design class this spring