The department of PME

The Department of Precision and Microsystems Engineering (PME) is located at  the faculty Mechanical Engineering (3ME) of the Delft University of Technology and 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.

The steady technology development of today pushes the performance of all kinds of equipment for electronics, health care, materials technology and many other fields to new extremes. To meet the new requirements, mechanical engineering is pushed to extremes in precision, miniaturisation and multi-domain integration both for the products of tomorrow and the equipment to make those products. This requires a science based engineering approach based on thorough understanding of not only mechanics and dynamics but also aspects such as thermodynamics, mechatronics, optics and system miniaturisation and integration.

Track High-Tech Engineering (HTE)

The purpose of the MSc Track in High-Tech Engineering (HTE) is to educate engineers in the technological knowledge and skills they need to design a new generation of both the products and the required equipment that will enable even greater achievements. Starting from the fundamentals of physics and mechanics, students gain the insights and understanding they will need to push beyond the current limits. The programme includes analysis, design and implementation of solutions, using analytical models, computational methods and experimental work to reach new performance and understanding. With this focus on the ‘ultimate in mechanical engineering’ the program confronts students with the daunting conceptual and design challenges of developing (and utilising) tools for precision mechanical engineering. Although the emphasis is on high-tech equipment and instrumentation, the same knowledge and methodology applies to energy systems, medical equipment, automotive and aerospace design and many other fields of mechanical engineering, enabling these future engineers to address the needs of our modern society.

Focus Areas

Next to the HTE obligatory courses students choose a research focus in which they want to deepen their knowledge. Focus Areas within the High-Tech Engineering track are: 

Mechatronic System Design (MSD) aims at designing integrated systems of mechanisms, sensors, actuators and control to perform complex tasks while interacting in a multiphysical environment, typically at high speed and high accuracy, at various length scales. Recent trends include distributed motion, as in compliant mechanisms, as well as distributed actuation and sensing, and control techniques based on fractional order calculus and reset strategies.

Engineering Dynamics (ED) studies the time-dependent linear and non-linear motion of mechanical structures to engineer dynamical systems. Material properties, thermodynamic interactions and physical actuation forces are studied for enhanced performance of high-speed devices, using mathematical and experimental methods to elucidate and control their complex motions. Explore the ultimate limits of high-frequency nanoelectromechanical systems of atomic-scale dimensions. 

Micro and Nano Engineering (MNE) bridges the gap between the ultimate small and the macro world. Students learn to develop and optimise production and assembly processes and technologies which make use of phenomena at the nanometre level. The primary focus within the Micro and Nano Engineering group is on the production and assembly of precise and small parts and products of micrometer and nanometre scale.

Engineering Mechanics (EM) deals with physics of mechanics and its experimental, mathematical and numerical tools, design procedures and innovative designs. It covers the foundations of mechanical engineering: the theoretical and experimental analysis of the statics and dynamics of structures and mechanical systems. Basic themes covered are Solid Mechanics, Dynamics, Computational Mechanics, Structural design and Optimization.

Opto-Mechatronics (OM) covers the fundamentals of optics in theory and practice as well as understanding and design of high-end optical systems and digital mirror devices. This expertise is combined with mechatronic system design treating dynamics and motion control, adaptive optics and design principles for precision positioning and thermomechanical stability.


Opto-Mechatronics (OM)

Opto-Mechatronics is a specialized field combining many expertise areas and is widely present in the High-Tech industry. This track is an excellent start to becoming a multi-disciplinary researcher or system designer in micro-optics and opto-mechatronics. 

Optomechtronical systems and products are all around us. The zoom lens of a camera. The same but then in vacuum or cryogenic environment. Or robust enough to survive a rocket launch yet with sufficient precision to make detailed earth observations. A wafer scanner writing structures as small as 10 nm on chips via its 15 meter long optical path comprising over 50 optical elements, controlled using a variety of optical sensors. Micro system technology enabling the realisation of micrometer small optical systems, such as sensors integrated in catheters for diagnosis in the smallest blood vessels of our body. A telescope gathering star light photon-by-photon from the outskirts of the universe using a 40-meter primary multi-mirror composed of hundreds of actively controlled units, each suspended by thermally compensated precision mechanisms. High-end spectrometers analysing the stellar radiation helping us unravel the mystery of  the origin of the universe. All these systems are examples of high-end opto-mechatronics or micro-optical systems. They are also products of the industries involved in our research programme in micro-optics and opto-mechatronics that defines the next steps for industry and science in subjects such as metrology with picometer accuracy, low-light astronomy, precision 3D printing, or optical fiber technology. 

Course Programme

By nature the Opto-Mechatronics course programme is a multi-disciplinary programme. We offer a curriculum which will educate you to become an excellent opto-mechatronics engineer. The track will teach you the fundamentals of optics in theory and practice, as well as understanding of high-end optical systems like microscopes, telescopes, interferometers and digital mirror devices. This expertise is combined with mechatronic system design treating dynamics and motion control; micro-system design expertise covering lithography-based micromanufacturing and optical fibers; adaptive optics on actively deformable mirrors and their integration in an opto-mechatronic system;  and a course on design principles for precision positioning and thermomechanical stability. In addition there is room for electives, such as for instance on more generic topics like engineering dynamics or sensors and actuators, or more specialized ones like space instrumentation or quantum optics, the choice is yours. The combination of these areas forms an excellent basis to becoming an opto-mechatronic scientist or system designer of high-end optical equipment. Experts from different faculties are involved in the curriculum. The programme has been developed in close collaboration with partners outside the university. Therefore several guest lectures and many of our graduation assignments are defined together with the companies involved, TNO or other research groups.  

Pilot and Track record

As OM is running for the first time in 2017, you will be pioneering this master track. We took special care to guarantee a successful start. The OM track is organized by the PME Department, who also offer the well-established High-Tech Engineering track, in close collaboration with the Smart Optics Lab (SOL) of the DCSC Department at 3mE and the Optics Research Group (ORG) at the Faculty of Applied Sciences (TNW). All these groups, including PME, have extensive experience in the field of opto-mechatronics. The professors in these groups have successfully guided many students in various projects with an opto-mechatronics or micro-optics focus, as evidenced by the testimonials in this flyer. Starting 2017, a new research group including a full professor and two assistant or associate professors will be launched, providing additional opportunities for research and MSc thesis projects. Two instructors with strong roots in industry were already appointed to reinforce the curriculum. A range of high-tech companies and institutes are enthusiastically involved in the OM track providing input, internship and graduation placement, and support. 


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