Dr. Enrico Mastropaolo - Lecturer
School of Engineering, The University of Edinburgh (Scotland UK)

I received a Laurea degree in Microelectronics Engineering from the Universita' degli Studi di Padova, (Padova, Italy). Afterwards, I joined the School of Engineering, at The University of Edinburgh, where I obtained a PhD degree in Microsystems and Microfabrication and continued my research activity as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate. After my Post-Doc, I have been appointed as a Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering (affiliated to the research Institute for Integrated Micro and Nano Systems (IMNS)). I have extensive expertise in micro and nano fabrication and micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) with particular focus on silicon carbide resonant structures. My research includes design, simulations, fabrication and characterization of MEMS, focussing on electrothermal and piezoelectric transduction. In the last years, I have been extending my research activity to novel nano-materials (graphene), nanostructures (zinc oxide nanowires), composite materials (nanostructures-polymers) and biomimetic structures to develop micro and nano mechanical systems (sensors and actuators) with applications in biomedics, acoustics, and robotics.

Interested in doing a PhD? See FAQ section at the bottom of page for PhD opportunities.

Scottish Microelectronics Centre
Institute for Integrated Micro and Nano Systems
School of Engineering
The University of Edinburgh (Scotland UK)

Find me on Linkedin and on ResearchGate:

Micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS): sensors and actuators

  • Design, simulation, fabrication and characterisation of MEMS structures
  • Microfabrication processes and techniques
  • Silicon carbide MEMS sensors and resonators
  • Electrothermal and piezoelectric MEMS transducers
  • Non-linear behaviour of MEMS resonators
  • MEMS pressure sensors and microphones
  • Use of graphene in MEMS devices
  • Polymer MEMS
  • Energy harvesting
Nanostructures and novel materials for MEMS

  • Zinc oxide nanostrures
  • Hydrothermal growth of nanostructures
  • Hybrid materials, nanomaterials, polymer composites
  • Piezoelectric nanomaterials and composites
  • Carbon nanotubes and nanostructres in carbon-based devices
  • Colloidal lithography

  • Biomimetic micro and nano structures
  • Micro and nano fabrication of biological structures
  • Biomechanisms
  • Bio-inspired sensors and actuators
  • Wettability of micro/nano patterned surfaces
Biological Architecture Laboratory (BAL)

Link to BAL website
Three events funded by the Institute for Academic Development at the University of Edinburgh.


- Naomi Nakayama, Biological Sciences
- Jamie Davies, Medicine
- Enrico Mastropaolo, Engineering
- Jon Marles-Wright, Biological Sciences
- Ross McLean, Edinburgh College of Art
- Lara Isbel, Institute for Academic Development
- Sara Shinton, Shinton Consulting

Acoustics and Audio group (AAG)

I am a member of the Acoustics and Audio group (AAG) based at the University of Edinburgh. The group has members across the University, with particular presence in the School of Music, School of Physics and Astronomy, and School of Engineering.

Link to AAG website
Graphene Micro-sensors for Adaptive Acoustic Transduction (GMAAT)

Funding body: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
- PI - Prof. Rebecca Cheung (School of Engineering)
- Co-I - Dr. Michael Newton (School of Music)
- Co-I - Dr. Enrico Mastropaolo (School of Engineering)
The University of Edinburgh

This project aims to develop novel acoustic transduction technology for use in hearing aids. The key proposition is to use an ultra thin-film membrane as the vibrating mechanical component. The device will provide transduction of acoustic vibrations in air to an electrical signal using an innovative sensor positioned under the vibrating membrane. Main advantages of such an approach include adaptive gain control, selective frequency tuneability, improved signal to noise performance over conventional transducers and multi-channel scalability.
The flight and function of the dandelion fruit

Funding body: The Leverhulme Trust (link to Leverhulme newsletter magazine September 2015, see page 5 for featured article)
- PI - Dr. Naomi Nakayama (School of Biological Sciences)
- Co-I - Dr. Ignazio Maria Viola (School of Engineering)
- Co-I - Dr. Enrico Mastropaolo (School of Engineering)
The University of Edinburgh

The dandelion fruit consists of umbrella-like filaments and a weight (the seed) at the bottom, which together resemble a parachute at first glance. However, its flight mechanisms remain unexplained since the engineering principles of parachutes cannot apply at the small surface area and flow scales involved. In this project, we are resolving how the filaments interact with air in order to understand the mechanisms by which the dandelion fruit achieves flight. Using computer simulations and experiments, we are analysing the engineering of the fruit structure and the fluid-structure interaction to identify the key design features that confer its remarkable flight capacity. Furthermore, the filaments interact with water in two distinct modes: repelling water in light rain, but attracting water under heavy rain. We will characterise the structural and wettability features of the fruit to identify the design features that are responsible for its unique modes of interaction with water.
Mechanical and electrical properties of polymer composites for MEMS
PhD - Karina Jeronimo Martinez (Principal's Career Development Scholarship)

Piezo-electric materials generate an electric field when subjected to mechanical strain and, vice versa, experience a mechanical strain when subjected to an electric field. Piezo-electric ceramics with very low elasticity, are used in many everyday products such as loudspeakers and signal transducers. However, nowadays great attention is focussed on flexible materials for novel applications such as wearable sensors, smart clothes, soft robotics, flexible displays and further for tissue engineering and polymer scaffolding.
Zinc oxide nanoparticles and nanowires are being integrated into a polymer. The mechanical,electrical and electro-mechanical properties of the polymer composites are tested. A range of techniques for embedding the particles into the polymer are investigated.
Zinc oxide nanowires
PhD - Atif Syed

The integration of nanomaterials into polymers for developing novel hybrid Smart Materials is attracting great attention within the international research community. Smart Materials change their properties in response to external stimuli so that they can be used for detecting changes in the surrounding environment. Smart Materials have lot of potential for application in every-day life gadgets, biology, medicine, electronics etc. The project aims first to develop hybrid Smart Materials made from piezoelectric nanowires and polymers. The second aim of the project is to use the developed hybrid Smart Materials for the implementation of efficient and low-cost MEMS actuators/sensors in order to make biomedical sensors and drug delivery/drug analysis system.
Polymer-based MEMS sensors
MSc by research - Angelos Spanos

Polymer materials can be used for detecting organic volatile compounds. Some polymers swell (increase volume) when exposed to certain volatile organic compounds (VOC) and can be used for implementing electronic noses (e-noses). E-noses are bulky and expensive so that cheap and smaller solutions are needed for making these types of devices more accessible and portable (i.e. in the medical/biomedical market and consumer electronics market).
A possible solution is the implementation of these sensors as micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS). In order to achieve efficient devices, work has to be done from the design side for optimising the chemical-mechanical transduction of the structures (i.e. the magnitude of mechanical deflection in response to exposure to the VOC). In addition, solutions are needed for transferring the consequent mechanical response into the electrical domain (electro-mechanical transduction) thus obtaining a signal that could be further processed by electronic circuitry (i.e. piezoelectric transduction).
The project aims to design an optimal structure for polymer chemical sensors. Finite element simulations will be used for achieving an optimal MEMS structure. Particular attention has to be focused on the chemical-mechanical-electrical transduction mechanisms and coupling. In addition, according to time availability, the circuitry around the MEMS sensor providing power supply, control and read-out will be developed.

A list of events organised by the School of Engineering (Univ. of Edinburgh) can be found here.

Below some other interesting events.


EIPBN 2017

International conference on Electron, Ion, and Photon Beam Technology and Nanofabrication

May 30 - June 2, 2017

Orlando, FL Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

Link to event 2017

Technology Showcase ‘Detecting new technologies’ 2016

16 Nov 2016 1pm - 7pm and 23 Nov 2016 1pm - 7pm

Institute for Integrated Micro and Nano Systems, School of Engineering, University of Edinburgh.

Link to event

Living Machines 2016

19-22 July 2016

Very interesting workshops as satellite events, including:
"The Emergence of Biological Architecture"


  • Dr. Naomi Nakayama (School of Biological Sciences)
  • Ms. Rowan Muir (School of Engineering)
  • Dr. Ross McLean (Edinburgh College of Art)
  • Dr. Cathal Cummins (School of Biological Sciences and School of Engineering)
  • Dr. Enrico Mastropaolo (School of Engineering)
The University of Edinburgh

Link to event 2016
Courses in Mechanical Engineering (The University of Edinburgh):
Dynamics 3 (3rd year) SCQF Credit level 09
See course info

Advanced dynamics and applications 5 (5th year) SCQF Credit level 11
See course info

Interested in a post-doc?

For info, please write me a short email with subject 'Post-doc info request'. In the email, include research interests and background, attach CV.

Interested in a PhD?

For info on doing a PhD with me, please write a short email with subject 'PhD info request'. In the email, include educational background and research interests, attach CV.
PhD applications must be submitted on line on the Postgraduate Research Degree Programmes website (link here).

- PhD topic 1: Materials for bio-inspired sensors and energy harvesters (link here).
- PhD topic 2: MEMS microphones
- PhD topic 3: High temperature ultrasonic guided wave sensors for structural health monitoring (link here). (Studentship available for UK students or EU who lived in UK for the last 3 years).

A full list of PhD opportunities available in the School of Engineering at the Univ. of Edinburgh can be found at this link: PhD opportunities SoE.
If particularly interested in a PhD in the Research Institute which I am part of, select 'Integrated Micro and Nano Systems' in the Research Institute field.
For info on how to apply for PhD, visit the Postgraduate Research Degree Programmes website (link here).

Dr. Enrico Mastropaolo
Scottish Microelectronics Centre
Alexander Crum Brown Road
(King's Buildings)
Edinburgh (UK)