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The MicroElectroMechanical Systems Industry

Peter Bishop, Ph.D.*

Cirrus Logic, Inc.

This is an abstract for a poster to be presented at the
Fifth Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology.
There will be a link from here to the full article when it is available on the web.


In the last few years, the field of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) has burst from the laboratory into production of tiny mechanical devices built with variants of semiconductor manufacturing technology and capable of building mechanical devices with feature sizes similar to the feature sizes possible with semiconductor manufacturing, which is currently at about 250 nanometers. The field is generating enormous excitement in the area of transducers and actuators. Although much of the design has a distinct two-dimensional flavor to it, some of the MEMS manufacturing steps allow surprising degrees of three-dimensional mechanical design. In particular, MEMS systems are capable of constructing a three-dimensional structure and separating it from the silicon substrate on which it was built. This technology makes it possible to construct the smallest mechanical systems currently known with high volume and low cost. Substantial complexity of the systems is possible due to the complex masks that are a routine element of semiconductor manufacturing. The current array of products being produced by this industry is described. Some of the leading companies in the industry are identified. The ease of experimenting with MEMS designs and products is also described.

*Corresponding Address:
705 W. Washington Ave. Sunnyvale, CA 94086 ph: 408-737-9562, email:


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