About us

The Department of Precision and Microsystems Engineering (PME) carries out research and provides education in the field of high-tech systems and scientific instrumentation. Its research aims to solve fundamental questions in engineering science to advance the performance of precision systems and devices as well as their design and engineering. The PME department focuses on making the most of the opportunities provided by micro and nanoscience. Examples of PME’s research include ultra-precise motion control, sub-nm metrology, energy efficient mechanisms at micro and macro-scale, functionalised silicon probe tips for picoliter droplet dispensing, graphene growth and stretching using a micro-fabricated tensile tester, computational design methods for thermal topology optimisation and the mechanics of nanostructure sensor systems. Two key, interrelated strengths of PME’s research are:

  • The conceptualisation, exploration and demonstration of systems and tools for technical processes, pushing the limits of precision and size.
  • The definition and implementation of advanced computational design and material/device modelling strategies.



Our vision

The results of nanoscience research hold out the promise of new applications for solving societally relevant problems, e.g. in the area’s of health, energy and sustainability. However, current technology cannot make this promise a reality.  A new knowledge and technology foundation must be laid in order to reap the benefits of nanoscience.

This implies the development of bottom-up manufacturing processes, which combine additive and subtractive structuring for the creation of multi-material, 3D nanostructured materials and devices. Control of these processes requires advanced system development including process tools as well as metrology. Computational design methods, modelling and optimisation strategies are required to take full advantage of this manufacturing potential. These techniques will, on one hand, help us to understand multi-material, multi-scale structures, but will also allow us to design structures on the basis of a set of requirements.

A nano-manufacturing and engineering platform will enable us to custom design and build materials. Materials that, alongside their mechanical function, deeply integrate a variety of other local functions such as sensing or temperature control. Materials can be produced that have properties that do not occur in nature. Active surfaces, which adapt to current conditions in the environment can be conceptualised. There is no limit to the opportunities if we learn to master the technology. 

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