Materials Used for MEMS
One of the best choices for delicate technologic parts has always been silicone. This material is also compatible with the MEMS system and is widely used in the industry. Silicon proved to be efficient for different electronic devices. The high-quality material is also affordable which only makes it even more convenient for mass production in electronics. Silicon is a durable material and convenient because it can last a lifetime supporting repetitive actions and cycles without crushing. This means that the MEMS device can serve for a very long period regardless of how frequent the device is used. In addition, it does not waste energy. Besides regular silicon, crystalline silicon is also very high-rated in MEMS manufacturing. It can also be efficiently put to use, but it is more difficult to integrate, and its higher price makes it less desirable than regular silicone.
As we know, metals have proved to be reliable materials in different industries, but they are not only suitable for heavy industries but can also be efficient in delicate technological developmental processes. So, metals are common materials used in making different MES components. Silver, gold, copper, aluminum, titanium, nickel, platinum, and tungsten, are the metals high in demand in the technology industry. Even if metals cannot be compared to the highly sophisticated silicone when it comes to complex mechanical features, they are pretty durable when used for adequate purposes and within their capacity. We all know that they are firm, long-lasting, rarely break, and are in general, some of the best choices in any market.
Another favorite material that is also very popular in the electronics manufacturing market is polymers. The material has multiple characteristics and is mass-produced which makes it easily available. Due to its flexibility features, it is easy to incorporate. When it comes to making MEMS technology devices, polymers are adequate for microfluid purposes, e.g. molecular diagnostic devices. Injection molding (especially plastic parts) and stereolithography (a form of 3D printing) are used for successful application of polymers in MEMS technology.
Ceramics also ranks high on the list of desirable materials one of their major qualities include high electrical conductivity which enables smooth power flow. Ceramics can have different features which only gives it an advantage in the highly complex MEMS development. The material is very efficient for biogenic processes and commonly used for the development of biosensors.
MEMS devices go through several processes ranging from physical to lithography of different kinds. MEMS technology requires that all processes are carefully taken into account upon the development of any device.
Reflection on the MEMS History and a Glimpse into the Future
MEMS have been fabricated since the 1950s and have come a long way. The future of MEMS technology looks very promising since it is developing in a healthy manner, even though some might expect a more rapid development rate.
When we look back at predictions of the MEMS development approximately 15 years ago, the mobile industry was predicted to require 2 and 3-axis sensors by now, and accelerometers and gyroscopes were predicted in 2003 to become a potential emerging market. When we look at it now, accelerometers and gyroscopes became the leading market, whereby the mobile industry already surpassed the 2 and 3-axis sensors, since we are already at 6-axis sensors. The mobile market and its consumers have been promising since its discovery, and it is foreseen that by next year MEMS systems in the mobile market will be worth $6.4 billion mostly in inertial MEMS. Future predictions also display a likelihood of MEMS spreading to other markets as well with the simultaneous shift of “mobile” to other fields like health and sports.
Combo sensors are also held as a lucrative possibility and are expected to generate billions of dollars in the coming years.
MEMS and Sensor Industry Groups
MEMS and Sensor Industry Groups (MSIG) represent a trade association that promotes sensors and MEMS at the global level. It emphasizes the key role of sensors and MEMES they have in electronic devices. They are present everywhere starting with smartphones and even reaching fields like smart living. We live in a world where technology has the upper hand and where almost everything is subjected to the use of sophisticated technology and sensors.
The MSIG’s success is also reflected in its vast network that connects 180 companies and business partners which are part of the MSIG Group.
MEMS & Sensors Technical Congress 2017
The MSIG has been hosting the MEMS Technological Congress since 2001 and made it a long-lasting tradition. The 2017 Conference will be hosted in cooperation with the global industry association SEMI which is focused on the manufacturing supply chain regarding nano and microtechnologies, including MEMS systems. Their members are in charge of innovation and advancement in the electronics market advocating for faster, smoother, and more affordable devices.
The 2017 Congress will focus on the development and sustainability of the MEMS and sensor manufacturing companies in a challenging and competitive environment. The main issues that will be addressed include power and energy management, development of lower power devices with higher integration, security and cyber security of the sensor network, and others.
The MEMS industry has become so big that a life without it would be unimaginable for the average modern technology-aware man. We can only wait to see to what extents the MEMS industry will spread and what it will give us in the following decade.