Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Electrical Engineering

First Adviser

Tatic-Lucic, Svetlana

Other advisers/committee members

Decker, Richard; Jedlicka, Sabrina; Vinci, Richard; Hatalis, Miltiadis


Developing microelectromechanical system (MEMS) for the characterization of biologicalcells can advance the capabilities of medical professionals to diagnose and treat differentdiseases. This dissertation presents the design, modeling, fabrication process andcharacterization of a BioMEMS for mechanical characterization of cell aggregates. Thisactuator is intended to provide a set of large predefined lateral displacements. This devicehas a high aspect ratio and is fabricated using deep reactive ion etching (DRIE). Theactuator includes five different pairs of comb drives translating five independentdisplacements to a central shuttle. The successful operation of the actuator is verified in airand examined in deionized (DI) water.The device is designed to measure the mechanical properties of cell aggregates. The targetaggregates consist of human mesenchymal stem cells and are of great importance inregeneration studies for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. This integrated microactuator could provide actuation in micro-optics or microfluidics applications, allowing forlarge displacements.