Using the combinatorial material synthesis approach, materials libraries can be produced in one experiment that contain up to several thousand samples on a single substrate. In order to identify optimized materials in an efficient way using screening methods, adequate automated material characterization tools have to be designed and applied. Microsystems (micro-electromechanical systems: MEMS) offer powerful tools for the fabrication and processing of materials libraries as well as for accelerated material characterization on planar substrates such as Si wafers. MEMS can be used for parallel materials processing, either as passive devices such as shadow mask structures, or as active devices such as micro-hotplates. Microstructured wafers, which incorporate sensor or actuator structures such as electrode or cantilever arrays, can be used to identify materials properties in an efficient way.