MEMS Vs Microelectronics: Benefits of the Microelectromechanical Systems

MEMS is often misunderstood to be part of microelectronics. At the beginning of the development of microelectromechanical systems, it was possible to state that this is true. But now, only roots and first inventions gear MEMS to microelectronics in general.

Today, there are many devices based on microelectromechanical systems like laser scanning projector models and projection display chips, optical and pressure sensors, accelerometers, gyroscopes, microvalves, etc. That is why MEMS is about the extensive range of tech units, applications, and solutions together with ever-growing markets in the 21st century.

MEMS and Microelectronics in the 20th Century

The first scientist who tried to divide microelectromechanical systems from the microelectronics term and make them independent of IC and other general methodology in the context of electricity and micro-scale technologies was H.Nathanson. He explored the properties of the microsystems related to electronics and mechanics. This way H. Nathanson discovered the resonant gate transistor in 1967.

This device gave the first progress to MEMS while having become the ancestor of the present-day sensors, microchips, etc. Speaking about the features of this first MEMS-based unit that appeared in the middle of the 20th century, they were resonant for most experts in microelectronics. The transistor was notable with:

  • High-Q electronic filtering performance;

  • Cantilevered beam properties;

  • Gate-like acting mode;

  • A field-effect performance.

It was a pioneering discovery but very important for the development of microelectromechanical systems separately from microelectronics. Silicon-on-insulator technology was the second stage of MEMS progress in the 21st century. IC devices began to be used with the SOI backgrounds for the sounder performance. That is why MEMS started to be perceived as more durable and cost-efficient solutions for electronics and mechanics.

These embedded systems with sensor-driven properties were notable for their compact size and cross-functionality when it came to their implementation, use, location, and costs. At the end of the 21st century, the first MEMS tech units (like MEMS micromirror items, gyroscopes, and optical switches) were applied for automotive, healthcare, electronics, semiconductor, aerospace, and other spheres.

Current MEMS Devices to Keep Older Microelectronics Fab Running

Microelectromechanical systems opened more horizons for using IC fabrication equipment of previous generations. It means that MEMS performs one more advantage for microelectronics and stands out from the former solutions while keeping older technologies fab running. The dumping rate is decreasing this way. And all these improvements are possible with the help of new MEMS synergized with microelectronics (including ICs).

A good example is the cost-effective conversion of the ex-devices like BICMOS units into modern MEMS-based high-sensitive and smart accelerometers. Additionally, some components of the older IC fabrication can be presented in modern electromechanical systems.

For example, former wafers used for the older integrated-circuit tech models made 5-7 years ago will be suitable for the production of new MEMS devices (2 axis MEMS mirror items, inkjet laser printer, and PC disk drive heads, etc.).

MEMS Product Lines That Differ from Microelectronics

There is a range of products that became the unique line on the market. These items differ from MEMS from microelectronics and make it real to state that microelectromechanical systems are the separate-standing direction with their own specific goods, components, and needs. For example, the following market niches in the context of MEMS-based constituents are ever-growing today:

  • Deep-etch products;

  • Double-side alignment items;

  • Wafer-bonding elements;

  • Sensors, microchips with thicker external layers.

For example, some companies that used to make a specialty out of microelectronics hit the MEMS fabrication market in the 21st century. One of such holdings is Alcatel. Together with the Adixen brand, the company manufactures deep RIE, EVGroup, and Suss MEMS-friendly components that meet all the requirements of wafer bonders and double-side mask aligners produced on the Alcatel-Adixen plants as well.