Patricia Nieva

Professor, Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering

Research interests: micro and nanoelectromechanical systems (MEMS and NEMS); microbotics; biosensors; biomanipulators


Professor Patricia Nieva is an expert in micro and nanotechnologies and in particular, the development of microsensors, nanosensors and integrated sensor system solutions. She has established a multidisciplinary research program that aims to build novel sensing methodologies to enhance vehicle’s safety and performance as well as point-of-care health monitoring and medical diagnosis. Nieva is involved in projects such as embedded sensors for in-line performance monitoring of Lithium Ion battery cells for electric vehicles and highly sensitive handheld cardiac monitors to measure the concentration of proteins in blood commonly linked to heart attack to alert patient’s doctor before symptoms appear.

Nieva’s work focuses on chemical and biological photonic sensing technologies involving fiber optics and nanostructured plasmonic devices as well as high-temperature MEMS capacitive, vibrational, interferometric and infrared sensing technologies. Her work also spans reliability studies of microsystems, in-situ characterization of material properties of thin films and the manufacturing of metallic nanoparticles for sensing applications.


  • PhD, Electrical Engineering, Northeastern University (U.S.A.), 2004

  • MSc, Mechanical Engineering, Northeastern University (U.S.A.), 1999

  • BSc, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, National University of Engineering (Peru), 1987

Patricia Nieva


Micro-and Nano Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS and NEMS) for harsh environments

MEMS and NEMS devices developed for harsh environments are highly sought after as they are cost effective and highly-responsive devices. In general, microsensors placed closer to the source of the signal provide more accurate, less noisy, and more reliable results. Extreme environments entail volatile conditions that must be monitored accurately, frequently and continuously –€“ MEMS/NEMS sensors can do that.

Physical sensors and devices

Available and up-and-coming MEMS and NEMS fabrication technology has had, and continues to have, many applications in industry. Automotive, aerospace, communication, nuclear and turbomachinery industries are just a few that have benefited from the developments made in the MEMS field. By their nature, MEMS and NEMS sensors are more sensitive than other conventional sensors available on the market making them more desirable in industry.

Micro-Opto-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MOEMS) and adaptive Optics

MOEMS and micro-optics technology emerged in the 1980s and is considered to be one of the most promising fields in MEMS research and development. The small size and movement range of MEMS and the highly sensitive measurement techniques available in optics are a powerful combination. MOEMS are efficient, extremely sensitive and accurate.

BioMEMS sensors

There is a growing need for highly sensitive yet portable devices capable of detecting specific biomarkers that will allow for earlier detection of diseases and health problems. SIMS Lab is developing an entire platform for the detection of such biomarkers, integrating biochemistry, microfluidics and advanced optical detection mechanisms together on one chip.

MEMS packaging and reliability

Sensor design must be done in conjunction with packaging design in order to produce a product viable for practical applications. Packaging serves many purposes, from protecting the sensor to providing an interface to the processing unit. In particular, sensors for harsh environments require well designed packaging solutions.

Integrated microsystems

Integration of electronics, microfluidics, optics and conventional MEMS devices creates more flexible systems with numerous applications. Innovations in separate areas get brought together in this quickly growing area of research.

Micropower Generation (MPG)

Micropower Generating (MPG) MEMS devices are designed to produce power by extracting it from the surrounding environment. In certain conditions, a set of an MPG-MEMS device and a MEMS sensor could be self-sustainable.


Recent publications include:

  • Denomme, Ryan C.; Iyer, Krishna; Kreder, Michael; Smith, Brendan; Nieva, Patricia M., “Nanoparticle fabrication by geometrically confined nanosphere lithography”, Journal of Micro-Nanolithography MEMS and MOEMS, Vol.12, No.3, 2013

  • Topaloglu, Nezih; Nieva, Patricia M.; Yavuz, Mustafa; Huissoon, Jan P., “An effective thermal conductance tuning mechanism for uncooled microbolometers”, Infrared Physics & Technology, Vol.57, pp.81-88, 2013

  • Hassanpour, Pezhman A.; Nieva, Patricia M.; Khajepour, Amir, “Electrostatic fringes effect in systems with three charged parallel micro-beams”, Applied Mathematical Modelling, Vol.37, No.4, pp.1932-1947, 2013

  • Sohi, A. Najafi; Nieva, P.; Khajepour, A., “A smaller footprint MEMS sensor for on-chip temperature measurement”, (Eds. Ramesham, R; Shea, HR), Reliability, Packaging, Testing and Characterization of MOEMS/MEMS and Nanodevices XII, Vol.8614, 2013

  • Sohi, A. Najafi; Nieva, P.; Khajepour, A., “A new bimaterial microcantilever with tunable thermomechanical response”,Microelectronic Engineering, Vol.96, pp.18-23, 2012

  • Hassanpour, Pezhman A.; Nieva, Patricia M.; Khajepour, Amir, “A passive mechanism for thermal stress regulation in micro-machined beam-type structures”, Microsystem Technologies-Micro-and Nanosystems-Information Storage and Processing Systems, Vol.18, No.5, pp543-556, 2012

  • Shavezipur, M.; Nieva, P.; Hashemi, S. M.; Khajepour, A., “Linearization and tunability improvement of MEMS capacitors using flexible electrodes and nonlinear structural stiffness”, Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, Vol.22, No.2, 2012

  • Asiaei, Sasan; Denomme, Ryan C.; Marr, Chelsea; Nieva, Patricia M.; Vijayan, Mathilakath M.,“Fast self-assembly kinetics of alkanethiols on gold nanoparticles: simulation and characterization by localized surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy”, (Eds. Becker, H; Gray, BL), Microfluidics, Biomems, and Medical Microsystems X, Vol.8251, 2012

  • Denomme, R. C.; Young, Z.; Brock, L.; Nieva, P. M.; Vijayan, M. M., “Optimization of a localized surface plasmon resonance biosensor for heat shock protein 70”, (Eds. Adibi, A; Lin, SY; Scherer, A), Photonic and Phononic Properties of Engineered Nanostructures II, Vol.8269, 2012

  • Nieva, Patricia M.; Godin, Jeremy R.; Norris, Ryan C.; Sohi, Ali Najafi; Leung, Timothy, “Effects of dry plasma releasing process parameters and induced in-plane stress on MEMS devices yield”, (Eds. GarciaBlanco, SM; Ramesham, R), Reliability, Packaging, Testing, and Characterization of MEMS/MOEMS and Nanodevices XI, Vol.8250, 2012

  • Hassanpour P.A., Nieva P.M., and Khajepour A., "Stochastic Analysis of a Novel Force Sensor Based on Bifurcation of a Micro-structure," J. Sound and Vibration, Vol. 330, No. 23, pp. 5753-5768, November 2011.

  • Dyck N.C., Denomme R.C., and Nieva P.M., "Effective Medium Properties of Arbitrary Nanoparticle Shapes in a Localized Surface Plasmon Resonance Sensing Layer," J. Phys. Chem. C, Vol. 115, No. 31, pp. 15225-15233, June 2011

  • Hassanpour P.A., Nieva P.M., and Khajepour A., "A Passive Mechanism for Thermal Stress Regulation in Micro-machined Beam-type Structures, Modeling and Experiment," Submitted to the J. Microsystem Technology, June 2011.

  • Hassanpour P.A., Nieva P.M., and Khajepour A., "Electrostatic Fringe Effect in Systems with Three Charged Parallel Micro-Beams," Submitted to the Journal of Applied Mathematical Modelling, March 2011.

  • Shavezipur M., Hashemi S., Nieva P.M., and Khajepour A., "Development of a Triangular-Plate MEMS Tunable Capacitor with Linear Capacitance-Voltage Response," Microelectronics Engineering Journal, Vol. 87, pp. 1721-1727, November 2010.

  • M Shavezipur, P Nieva, A Khajepour and S M Hashemi (2010), “Development of parallel-plate-based MEMS tunable capacitors with linearized capacitance–voltage response and extended tuning range” J. Micromech. Microeng., 20, doi: 10.1088/0960-1317/20/2/025009.

  • Zwart, G. Derige, D. Effa , P. Nieva, and S. Lancaster (2009), “A Novel Virtual Button User Interface for Determining the Characteristics of an Impulse Input Based on MEMS Inertial Sensors” Sensors & Transducers J., Special Issue, October 2009, 7, pp. 179-190.

  • M. Shavezipur, P. Nieva, S. Hashemi, A. Khajepour (2009), “A Parallel-Plate-Based Fishbone-Shape MEMS Tunable Capacitor with Linear Capacitance-Voltage Response,” Sensors & Transducers J., Special Issue, October 2009, 7, pp. 15-24.

  • M. Shavezipur, S. Hashemi, P. Nieva, A. Khajepour (2009), “Development of a Triangular-Plate MEMS Tunable Capacitor with Linear Capacitance-Voltage Response,” Microelect. Eng. J., In press, doi: 10.1016/j.mee.2009.09.011.

  • N. Topaloglu, P. Nieva, M. Yavuz, J. Huissoon (2009), “Modeling of Thermal Conductance in Uncooled Microbolometer Pixel Sensors,” Sens. & Act.: A Phys., Accepted Aug. 2009.

  • Elbuken, N. Topaloglu, P. Nieva, M. Yavuz, J. Huissoon (2009), “Modeling and Analysis of a 2-DOF bidirectional electro-thermal microactuator,” J. Microsyst. Tech., 15, pp. 713-722.

  • P. Nieva, J. Kuo, S. Chiang, A. Syed (2009), “A novel MOEMS Pressure Sensor: Modeling and Experimental Evaluation”, Journal Sadhana, Springer India, 34:4, pp.615-623.

  • P. Nieva, N. McGruer, G. Adams, C. DiMarzio (2008), “A Fabry-Perot Interferometric System for the experimental Verification of the Air Viscous Damping in MEMS,” Int. J. Micro and Nano Systems, Accepted October 2008.

  • M. Shavezipur,S. M. Hashemi, P. Nieva, and A. Khajepour (2008), “Development of a Triangular-Plate MEMS Tunable Capacitor with Linear Capacitance-Voltage Response” Microelectronics Journal, 2008, (Submitted).

  • P. Nieva, J. Kuo, S. W. Chiang, A. Syed, (2007), “A novel MOEMS Pressure Sensor: Modeling and Experimental Evaluation,” Journal Sadhana, Indian Academy of Science, Accepted September 15, 2007 (In Press).

  • P. Nieva (2007), “New Trends on MEMS Sensor Technology for Harsh Environment Applications”, Sensors & Transducers Journal, Special Issue, October 2007, pp.10-20.

  • P. Nieva, N. McGruer, G. Adams, C. DiMarzio (2007), “Experimental Verification of the Air Viscous Damping in MEMS using a Fabry-Perot Interferometric Technique,” Submitted to Applied Optics, OSA, 2007.

  • N. Topaloglu, P. Nieva, M. Yavuz, J. Huissoon (2007), “Composite Region Thermal Modeling of Uncooled Microbolometer Pixel”, Submitted to Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, IoP, 2007.

  • P. Nieva, N. McGruer, G. Adams (2006), “Design and Characterization of a Micromachined Fabry-Perot Vibration Sensor for High Temperature Applications,” J. Micromech. Microeng., 16, pp. 2618-2631.

  • H. Tada, A. Kumpel, R. E. Lathrop, P. Nieva, P. Zavracky, I. Miaoulis, P. Wong (2000), “Thermal expansion coefficient of polycrystalline silicon and silicon dioxide thin films at high temperatures,” J. Appl. Phys., Vol. 87, No. 9, pp. 4189-4193, 2000.

  • H. Tada, A. Kumpel, R. Lathrop, J. Slanina, P. Nieva, P. Zavracky, I. Miaoulis, P. Wong (2000), “Novel imaging system for measuring microscale curvatures at high temperatures,” Rev. Sci. Instrum., Vol. 71, No. 1, pp. 161, 2000.

  • Abramson, P. Nieva, H. Tada, P. Zavracky, I. Miaoulis and P. Wong (1999), “Effect of doping level during rapid thermal processing of multilayer structures,” J. Mater. Res., Vol. 14, No.6, pp. 2402-2410, 1999.