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What is MEMS?

Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) (also written as micro-electro-mechanical, MicroElectroMechanical or microelectronic and microelectromechanical systems) is the technology of very small devices; it merges at the nano-scale into nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) and nanotechnology. MEMS are also referred to as micromachines (in Japan), or micro systems technology – MST (in Europe).

MEMS are separate and distinct from the hypothetical vision of molecular nanotechnology or molecular electronics. 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 surroundings such as microsensors. At these size scales, the standard constructs of classical physics are not always useful. Because of the large surface area to volume ratio of MEMS, surface effects such as electrostatics and wetting dominate over volume effects such as inertia or thermal mass. The most important MEMS product is Gyroscope.

Micro electro mechanical system has the advantages of small size, light weight, low power consumption, good durability, low cost, stable performance and so on. The emergence and development of micro electro mechanical system is the result of scientific creative thinking, which makes the evolution and revolution of micro scale manufacturing technology. MEMS is an important research field in the interdisciplinary, involving electronic engineering, material engineering, mechanical engineering, information engineering and other science and technology project, will be the future of the national economy and a new growth point of the military research field.

MEMS (micro electromechanical system) originally applied for car airbag sensor,later applied for various fields of the car by the form of MEMS sensor. With the further development of MEMS technology, and its application terminal "light and thin, short and small, small volume of high performance MEMS product demand is increasing rapidly.MEMS products also applied for consumer electronics, medical and other fields of large quantity MEMS products.

Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems, or MEMS, is a technology that in its most general form can be defined as miniaturized mechanical and electro-mechanical elements (i.e., devices and structures) that are made using the techniques of microfabrication. The critical physical dimensions of MEMS devices can vary from well below one micron on the lower end of the dimensional spectrum, all the way to several millimeters. Likewise, the types of MEMS devices can vary from relatively simple structures having no moving elements, to extremely complex electromechanical systems with multiple moving elements under the control of integrated microelectronics. The one main criterion of MEMS is that there are at least some elements having some sort of mechanical functionality whether or not these elements can move.

MEMS Features

1.Miniaturization: small size, light weight, low energy consumption, low inertia, high resonance frequency, short response time.

2.With silicon as the main material, mechanical and electrical properties are excellent: the strength, hardness and Young's modulus of silicon is comparable with that of iron. The density of the material is similar to that of aluminum, and the thermal conductivity is close to that of molybdenum and tungsten.

3.Batch production: silicon micromachining process on a silicon wafer can be simultaneously manufacturing hundreds of micro electromechanical devices or complete MEMS. Mass production can greatly reduce production costs.

4.Integration: the different functions and different sensitive direction or actuating direction of multiple sensors or actuators are integrated, or the formation of micro sensors, micro actuator array, even the device functions are integrated together to form complex micro system. Micro sensors, micro actuators and microelectronic devices can be integrated to create a high reliability and stability of MEMS.

5.Interdisciplinary: MEMS involves many disciplines such as electronics, mechanics, materials, manufacturing, information and automation, physics, chemistry, biology, and so on.

MEMS development goal is to explore new principles, new features of components and systems, through the miniaturization, integration, opening up a new technical field and industry. MEMS can accomplish the tasks that can not be completed by the large size electromechanical system, but also can be embedded in the large size system, to improve the level of automation, intelligence and reliability to a new level. In twenty-first Century MEMS will gradually from the laboratory to practical, industrial and agriculture, information, environment, biological engineering, medical technology, space technology, national defense and scientific development have a significant impact.

Main Classifications

  • Sensing
    Sensing MEMS technology refers to the use of micro electronic mechanical processing, with sensitive components such as capacitors, piezoelectric, pressure resistance, thermo mechanical coupling, resonance, tunnel current and other devices and systems to feel the conversion of electrical signals. It includes the speed, acceleration, pressure, humidity, gas, light, magnetic, acoustic, biological and chemical sensors, according to the main types are: array tactile sensor, resonance force sensitive sensor, micro accelerometer, vacuum microelectronic sensor etc.. The development direction of the sensor is array, integration and intelligence. The sensor is the human exploration of the nature of the tentacles, is a variety of automated devices, and has wide range of applications,its promising future draws worldwide attention.

  • Biology
    MEMS technology is a chemical / biological manufacturing technology of MEMS micro biological analysis and detection chip or instrument, a micro drive pump, produced on the substrate of micro channel network, control valve, sample processor, mixing tank, metering, adder, reactor, separator and detector components and integration multi function chip. Sample sampling, dilution, adding reagents, mixing, enhancement, reaction, separation, detection and post-processing analysis of the whole process can be achieved. It is the traditional function of miniature analysis lab on a chip. Biological MEMS system has the characteristics of miniaturization, integration, intelligence and low cost. It has the characteristics of large amount of information, high analysis efficiency, little connection between the system and external connection, real-time communication and continuous detection. International Research on biological MEMS has become a hot spot, and soon will bring a major innovation for biological and chemical analysis system.

  • Optics
    MEMS optical scanner

    With the rapid development of information technology, optical communication technology, and a new field for the development of MEMS is combined with integrated optics, microelectronics, micro mechanical and optoelectronic technology based technology, the development of new optical devices, called micro electromechanical system (MOEMS). It can integrate all kinds of MEMS structures and micro optical devices, optical waveguide devices, semiconductor laser devices, photoelectric detection devices, and so on. The formation of a new functional system. MOEMS has the characteristics of small size, low cost, mass production, accurate driving and control, etc.. More successful application of scientific research is mainly concentrated in two aspects:
    Is a new display, MOEMS projection equipment based on spatial modulation research how the reflection of the physical movement of the light, the typical one is the digital micromirror array chip and grating light valve: two communication system is the main research, to control the light path is expected to change by the physical movement of micro mirror, light switch modulator the optical filter, multiplexer and optical communication devices such as the more successful.
    MOEMS is a high and new technology, which is comprehensive and highly interdisciplinary. It can lead to the development of a large number of new concepts.

  • Radio Frequency
    Radio frequency MEMS technology is traditionally divided into fixed and movable two types. The fixed MEMS device comprises a bulk micromachined transmission line, a filter and a coupler, and a movable MEMS device includes a switch, a tuner, and a variable capacitor. According to the technical level and basic level devices are divided into micro mechanical switch, variable capacitor and inductor resonator; by phase shifter, filter and other components of the VCO component level by level; the application system of single chip receiver, beam radar, phased array radar antenna.

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