Friday, February 08, 2013

What are MEMS?

Think if we can integrate a GPS System on every Parcel we are sending via Courier or Post. It will be very easy for us to track the current location of the Parcel and the Handling of the Parcel. But, the system should be small like a Chip, and it should be of least cost. Don't forget that the GPS System has a Processor and an Antenna to receive the signals from the Satellite. How can we integrate the entire system inside a Small Chip? Here comes the application of MEMS.

MEMS is an emerging technology in which Microscopic Machines are developed by the tools and techniques that were developed for the Integrated Circuit (IC)ndustry.

MEMS structure

Micro-Electro Mechanical systems (MEMS) is a technology that combines computers with tiny mechanical devices such as sensors, valves, gears, mirrors, and actuators embedded in semiconductor chips. 

These machines are built on standard silicon wafers.

MEMS are made up of components between 1 to 100 micrometres in size (i.e. 0.001 to 0.1 mm), and MEMS devices generally range in size from 20 micrometres (20 millionths of a metre) to a millimetre (i.e. 0.02 to 1.0 mm).

They usually consist of a Central Unit that processes data (the microprocessor) and several components that interact with the outside such as Microsensors.

Components of MEMS

What are the Advantages of MEMS?

By utilizing this technology, it is possible to integrate both Microelectronic circuits and Mechanical structures on the same chip, enabling monolithic integration while reducing the microsystem size and cost considerably.

What are the Applications of MEMS? 

This technology has an enormous number of application areas, including 

  • Automotive Eg. Accelerometers for airbag systems, Roll-over detection systems, etc.
  • Biomedical Eg.Neural prosthesis devices like hearing and visual aids, Smart drug delivery systems, On Chip body fluid analysis systems, Microsurgery tools, Pacemakers
  • Telecommunication Eg. Micromirrors for fiber optic switching for fast internet,Smart Antennas
  • Household appliances pressure sensors for water level detection, frost sensors for refrigerators
  • Consumer Applications DLP projectors, i-phone,
  • Defense applications Eg. Low cost night vision, Smart munitions

Image Courtesy


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