The Growing Use of MEMS and Piezoelectric Devices and Transducers

MEMS and Piezoelectric devices and transducers are growing in use as their technology becomes more sophisticated. Simulation is an important part in understanding, designing, and optimizing them due to their size and complexity. The MEMS Module is a significant player in the industries that manufacture and utilize these devices. View this short video to see how it, COMSOL Multiphysics, and other modules can model and simulate your MEMS and piezoelectric applications. Scroll down further to investigate examples and case studies from the different categories of MEMS and piezoelectric devices and transducers.

Piezoelectric Devices

Piezoelectric devices are used in a wide range of applications such as actuators, sensors and ultrasonic devices. In electronic devices, they are often deployed as precision frequency resonators in, for example, quartz wrist watches. Direct piezoelectric behavior occurs in certain materials where an applied mechanical stress results in the build-up of electric charge or a voltage, while the inverse piezoelectric effect occurs when an electric potential induces mechanical deformations. Related to this are devices based on piezoresistive and magnetostrictive effects.

Ask us about modeling Piezoelectric Devices, or find more examples, user stories, and models by visiting the:

Acoustics Module
MEMS Module
Structural Mechanics Module

Sensors and Actuators

MEMS sensors, accelerometers, and actuators have made a huge impact on automotive safety, where they are used to deploy airbags, and are now widely employed in everything from mobile phones and tablets, CO2 sensors, and measuring blood viscosity. They invariably depend upon coupled physics described through electromechanics, Joule heating, fluid-structure interaction, and piezoelectricity. In this way, sensors and actuators are by their nature multiphysics devices.

Ask us about modeling Sensors and Actuators, or find more examples, user stories, and models by visiting the:

MEMS Module

Featured Video (Tutorial)

MEMS technology delivers accurate measurements and compact packages. In this multiphysics model, capacitance is directly related to the deformation of the structure, which depends on pressure, temperature, materials used, and initial stresses.

Resonant MEMS

Resonant MEMS devices are found in applications ranging from gyroscopes to the emerging silicon timing sector. Often their resonant behavior needs to be well understood and can include anchor losses, thermoelastic and thin-film damping, spring softening and stress stiffening.

Ask us about modeling Resonant MEMS, or find more examples, user stories, and models by visiting the:

MEMS Module


Placing an alternating current across a piezoelectric crystal allows this to oscillate at high frequencies, which can then be placed in a fluid to create sound. Ultrasonic transducers are devices that convert electrical energy into ultrasound waves, for SONAR, medical and microphone applications. Not only does the piezoelectric or magnetostrictive characteristics of such devices need to be understood, but also the acoustics-structural interaction between the device and fluid.

Ask us about modeling Ultrasonic transducers, or find more examples, user stories, and models by visiting the:

Acoustics Module

Featured Video (Tutorial)

The tonpilz piezo transducer is used for low frequency, high-power sound emission. The transducer consists of piezoceramic rings stacked between a head and a tail mass, which lower the resonance frequency of the device.


RF MEMS devices represent a growing segment of the MEMS market where the properties of the MEMS device is used to control the RF application. Mobile technology uses BAW and FBAR resonators extensively, and now MEMS switches are beginning to gain traction. Other types of RF MEMS components include tunable inductors and capacitors, and many of the electromechanical characteristics of these components need to be considered together with their RF functionality.

Ask us about modeling RF MEMS devices, or find more examples, user stories, and models by visiting the:

MEMS Module
RF Module


The field of BioMEMS covers applications of MEMS to the biomedical and bioengineering industries. Sensors and resonators, based on electromechanical behavior, can be a part of this, but much within the BioMEMS sector also relies on microfluidics and electrokinetic flow. There is considerable overlap with other applications, such as lab-on-chip, while fluid-structure interaction or surface acoustic wave (SAW) phenomena can occur in BioMEMS devices.

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Featured User Story (PDF)

BioMEMS Resource Center, Massachusetts General Hospital & Veryst Engineering, Boston, MA

Modeling Inertial Focusing in Straight and Curved Microfluidic Channels

Ask us about modeling BioMEMS, or find more examples, user stories, and models by visiting the:

Microfluidics Module

Featured Video (Tutorial)

In an electrokinetic valve, a sample is focused using pressure differentials, and then injected using electrokinetic flow. This is done by applying electric potential over the injection channel, transporting ions from the focusing zone into the injection channel.

Learn from the MEMS Modeling Experts

COMSOL is the perfect tool for simulating MEMS and Piezoelectric devices and applications. Test out how it can work for you by attending a free hands-on workshop where a complimentary trial of COMSOL Multiphysics and its modules will be made available for you. You are also more than welcome to send off a quick question to us and find out more how COMSOL can be used in understanding, developing, and optimizing your MEMS and Piezoelectric devices.