MEMS sensors: past, present and future

MEMS sensors

The origin of MEMS technology dates back to 1954. Since then, it has become an unattainable part of people’s lives. As a result, these days, one can hardly imagine any industry without this helpful invention replacing bulky, dated machines. MEMS devices fall into sensors and actuators. What do you know about MEMS sensors?

With the arrival of an era of innovation, bulky electromechanical sensors were replaced by small and relatively efficient devices known as MEMS devices (new MEMs products are: MEMS mirrorsMEMS laser projector2d MEMS mirror ). They are classified into two subgroups:sensors and actuators.

Both serve important functions. The goal of a sensor is to convert physical effects into electrical signals.

The key objective of actuators resides in converting electric impulses into actions. Let’s dig a little deeper into the sensors’ past, present, and future.

Who Invented MEMS Technology?

MEMS development began in 1954. It was then that the piezoresistive effect of silicon and germanium was discovered, which served as the foundation for the first pressure and acceleration sensors.

The first MEMS device was invented by Harvey C. Nathanson in 1965. It was a resonant barrier transistor, combining mechanical and electronic components. It was so small that its length amounted to a millimetre.

It was also susceptible to an electrical signal with a wide input range. It functioned in the same way as a frequency filter, passing signals within a specific frequency range.

Isotropic silicon etching was first used in the production of silicon transistors in the early 1960s. In North Carolina, the first microsystem factory was established in 1993, allowing MEMS to be made available to a broad range of consumers.

Present Of MEMS Sensors

MEMS sensors are now used in a variety of industries, including:

  • Control equipment;

  • The robotics industry;

  • Automotive industry;

  • Computer technology (inkjet printers);

  • Colour projectors;

  • Display systems;

  • Scanning equipment;

  • Healthcare sector;

  • Smartphones (accelerometers, microphones, gyroscopes, etc.).

For the production of MEMS, one now uses several methods:

  • Deep reactive ion etching;

  • LIGA technology (Litographie, Galvanoformung, and Abformung);

  • Micro surface treatment;

  • Volumetric micro-processing.

Volumetric micro-processing is considered the most cost-effective method of MEMS production. One uses chemical etching to remove unnecessary material from the silicon plate. As a result of these manipulations, only the necessary mechanisms remain on the plate.

Sensors also help locate objects on the plane. For example, as part of a mobile device, it measures atmospheric pressure at the device’s current location.

The sensor’s direct function resides in comparing the external atmospheric pressure to the vacuum chamber inside the sensor itself. This makes it possible to determine the user’s location up to 50 cm in height and greatly improves the user’s navigation capabilities because it also enables the possibility to determine a person’s location vertically.

The Future Of MEMS Sensors

In Japan, in the IT industry, these devices are known as micromachines, and in Europe, it is known as microsystem technology. According to analysts, microelectromechanical systems will enable a minimum cost, an increase in sensitivity, and mechanical return in crystal level devices.

In general, technology has a significant impact on sensing techniques. Because of the high demand for these technologies in a variety of industries, more complex and complex devices are being developed. As a result of the increased demand for MEMS sensors, their prospects appear promising.

The main issue that frequently affects miniature devices is their small size. Despite all of their advantages, including strength and a reasonable price, such devices frequently lose their enhanced productivity. In the case of MEMS, however, the situation remained unchanged. They are not only long-lasting and efficient but also quite affordable in price when produced in large quantities, which will only increase their demand on the market and industries of application.