Eihab Abdel-Rahman

Next Generation Energy Systems Co-Lead; Professor, Systems Design Engineering

Research interests: dynamics of micro and nano systems; micro power generators; MEMS and NEMS; atomic force microscopes


Professor Abdel-Rahman’s work has resulted in the discovery of new phenomena in micro-systems and the development of new radio frequency switches, micro-mass sensors, micro-power generators, atomic force microscopy techniques, and a micro-gyroscope.

Abdel-Rahman is a specialist in the dynamics and control of micro and nano electromechanical system with a particular interest in nonlinear dynamics. With colleagues, he has developed a distinct approach to the modeling and analysis of micro and nano electromechanical systems and is currently extending this work to experimental techniques.

Abdel-Rahman was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia from 1997-2005. During that time, he conducted research in the nonlinear dynamics, vibrations, and control of cranes, ships, and micro and nano electromechanical systems. Abdel-Rahman joined the University of Waterloo’s Systems Design Engineering department in 2006.


  • PhD, Engineering Mechanics, University of Toledo, 1997
  • MSc, Mechanical Engineering, University of Toledo, 1991
  • BSc, Mechanical Engineering, Kuwait University, 1988

Eihab Abdel-Rahman


Modeling, simulation and design of Micro- and Nano-Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS/NEMS)

I developed, in collaboration with Professor Ali Nayfeh and his students, a high-fidelity, robust, and numerically efficient approach to the modeling and simulation of MEMS and NEMS.

To date, I have used our modeling technique to analyze and design a wide array of MEMS sensors and transducers: Radio Frequency (RF) switches, resonant sensors, mirrors, filters, and pumps. Work is in progress on new filter designs, control strategies for torsional micromirrors, and improved resonant micro-sensors.

I am interested in the continued refinement of the underlying modeling and simulation technique as well as in applying it to the design of novel and practical MEMS and NEMS devices for communications and biomedical applications.

Dynamic phenomena in MEMS

I was a leading member of a group of researchers that identified the “dynamic pull-in” instability in electrostatic MEMS devices. We used this phenomenon to design a new RF MEMS microswitch.

I am interested in using simulations and experiments to identify dynamic (mostly nonlinear) phenomena in MEMS. I am even more interested in finding ways to make use of these phenomena to create new devices, devise new experimental techniques, or improve existing devices.

Wideband Micro-Power Generators (MPG)

Professor Abdel-Rahman developed a new class of vibration-based wideband MPGs in collaboration with two University of Waterloo professors. Vibration-based MPGs collect energy only from environmental vibrations that lie in a narrow frequency band. His invention replaces a linear oscillator with a nonlinear (piecewise-linear) oscillator as the energy harvesting element of the MPG. Experimental results show that the bandwidth of the new design improves the harvesting bandwidth of "wideband electromagnetic MPGs" by 200-600%. He is currently leading the technical side of efforts to commercialize this wideband.

Threshold-type mass sensors

Professor Abdel-Rahman developed two new mass sensing mechanisms. The sensors, made of MEMS electrostatic resonators, detect whether a mass deposited on a sensing platform exceeds a preset critical (threshold) value rather than trying to quantify it. The unique feature of these sensing mechanisms is that they eliminate the need for readout electronics. He is currently leading efforts to use these mass sensors as platforms to develop vapor/gas sensors and biological sensors.

Research interests

  • Dynamics and control of MEMS
  • Design of MEMS devices
  • Micro-power generation
  • Multi-body dynamics and control
  • Biomechanics