Microelectromechanical system (MEMS) and devices have advanced rapidly and have transitioned into many defense and commercial applications. Common MEMS switch types are a thin metal cantilever, air bridge, diaphragm, or some other structure electrically configured in series or parallel with an RF transmission line and designed to open the line or shunt it to ground upon actuation of the MEMS. Such switches have displayed excellent RF characteristics, including insertion loss values of approximately 0.1 dB and isolation values of approximately –30 dB in series-configured switches at lower RF frequencies (VHF to ~10 GHz) and in shunt-configured switches at higher frequencies (~10 to 100 GHz). Such performance enables superior performance in many traditional RF circuits, such as switchable routing in RF system front-ends, direct connection to capacitor banks, and routing in time-delay phase-shifter networks. It is also anticipated that RF MEMS will enable a new class of antenna system that are electrically reconfigurable. In all these applications being considered, RF MEMS switches are promising to replace traditional switches with consideration on both performance and cost.
Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) is the integration of mechanical elements, sensors, actuators, and electronics on a common silicon substrate through microfabrication technology. While the electronics are fabricated using integrated circuit (IC) process sequences (e.g., CMOS, Bipolar, or BICMOS processes), the micromechanical components are fabricated using compatible “micromachining” processes that selectively etch away parts of the silicon wafer or add new structural layers to form the mechanical and electromechanical devices.
MEMS promises to revolutionize nearly every product category by bringing together silicon-based microelectronics with micromachining technology, making possible the realization of complete systems-on-a-chip. MEMS is an enabling technology allowing the development of smart products, augmenting the computational ability of microelectronics with the perception and control capabilities of microsensors and microactuators and expanding the space of possible designs and applications.
Microelectronic integrated circuits can be thought of as the “brains” of a system and MEMS augments this decision-making capability with “eyes” and “arms”, to allow microsystems to sense and control the environment. Sensors gather information from the environment through measuring mechanical, thermal, biological, chemical, optical, and magnetic phenomena. The electronics then process the information derived from the sensors and through some decision making capability direct the actuators to respond by moving, positioning, regulating, pumping, and filtering, thereby controlling the environment for some desired outcome or purpose. Because MEMS devices are manufactured using batch fabrication techniques similar to those used for integrated circuits, unprecedented levels of functionality, reliability, and sophistication can be placed on a small silicon chip at a relatively low cost.
RF MEMS links
Advanced Micro and Nanosystems Lab – University of Toronto group that focuses on bio-oriented micro and nanosystems. Research areas include MEMS and NEMS sensors and actuators, biosensors, microrobotic biomanipulation, microstructure controls, and biomechanics.
Applied Computational Research Society – Nonprofit organization dedicated to cultivating interdisciplinary approaches to computational simulations. Emphasis on nanotechnology, nanoscience, and microsystems.
Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center (BSAC) – An NSF Center for the development of microsensors, microactuators, and MEMS.
Caltech Micromachining Laboratory – University fabrication laboratory and research group. Areas of research include: sensors and actuators, fabrication, microstructures. Open to industrial users.
Center for Applied Microtechnology – Provides education for, research, and promotion of microtechnology.
Center for Wireless Integrated MicroSystems – Research center concentrating on micropower circuits, wireless interfaces, biomedical and environmental sensors and subsystems, and advanced packaging. Includes facility and research information, and staff directory.
Cornell Nanofabrication Facility – Provides facilities and services for fabrication of microstructures and nanostructures. Open to both academic and industrial researchers.
CU MEMSweb – Research center at the University of Colorado. Topics include: RF devices, optoelectronics, and reliability.
Discovering MEMS and Microtechnology – General information about MEMS construction.
Discovery Chip – The company provides a low cost microfluidics consultancy service combined with prototyping facilities.
Institute for Micromanufacturing – Research and development facility at Louisiana Tech University with an emphasis on applied technology and commercial applications.
KJIST MEMS Nanomachine Lab – Research group at the Kwangju Institute of Science and Technology. Topics include optical devices and nanomechanics.
Lab-on-a-Chip – Information, news, events, jobs, publications and companies involved in microarrays and microfluidics.
MEMS Clearinghouse – Contains industry news, plus job and event listings. Also, hosts several mailing lists.
MEMS Concepts – Provides an idea exchange platform for Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems and Nano-technology.
MEMS Exchange – A distributed fabrication environment providing access to various manufacturing technologies.
MEMS Executive Congress – Annual one-day conference for business leaders in and around the MEMS industry.
MEMS Industry Group – Industry association for the MEMS and microstructures industries
Microfluidics & Microengineering Research Group – Research group focussed on microfluidics, including micropumps and microvalves. Includes details on research areas and contact information.
MicroMachines Centre – Nanyang Technological University research center with microfabrication facilities with projects in optical MEMS, RF MEMS, and microfluidics. Includes research and staff descriptions, and facility information.
MiRCTECH – Microwave circuit research using technologies such as micromachining, MEMS devices and electromagnetic-bandgap (EBG) structures.
Nexus – European Microsystems Network — Nonprofit association aimed at the microsystems professional. Includes a “who’s who” list, job opportunities, conferences, and user/supplier clubs.
NIST MEMS Project – USA government laboratory for measurements and standards. Run with the goal of stimulating economic growth.
Optical microsystems group – University of Minnisota – Research group of Dr. Joseph Talghader. Includes information on group members, and details of various research projects
Quantum Matrix – Malaysian MEMS manufacturer. Solutions ranges from packaging to module level manufacturing. Primary focus is on automotive, medical, and mobile applications.
Samlab – Research and development at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
Sandia MEMS – Government research lab with a very large MEMS development effort. Includes tutorial, bibliography, image and movie galleries, and live MEMScam.
Small Times – News about MEMS, Nanotechnology and Microsystems
trimmer.net – A general resource and information page, including a collection of information and links. Contains conference information, a journal club, and tutorials on the basics of fabrication.
Umech Technologies – Provides advanced MEMS metrology instruments for measuring 3D, real-time motion and dynamic profiles of complex microstructures (MEMS motion analysis).
research MEMS 2008 Conference – Information about the 21st research International Conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems in Tucson, Arizona, USA. (January 13, 2008)
MSM 2005 – Eighth International Conference on Modeling and Simulation of Microsystems. Anaheim, California. (May 8, 2005)
Tex-MEMS VI – “MEMS and Beyond: Nanotechnology” Includes history, registration and travel information, and an online abstract submission form. (September 9, 2004)
MSM 2004 – Seventh International Conference on Modeling and Simulation of Microsystems. Boston, MA, USA. (March 7, 2004)
2003 NanoTechnology Conference and Trade Show – Conference / trade show on nanoscience, technology and business. San Francisco, CA, USA. (February 23, 2003)
MSM 2003 – Sixth International Conference on Modeling and Simulation of Microsystems. Covers simulations of MEMS and other microsystems. San Francisco, CA, USA. (February 3, 2003)
Blu-Si, Inc. – Silicon micromachining, microfabrication company providing custom product development and process development for the microtechnology market: MEMS, MOEMS, and BioMEMS.
Boston Micromachines Corporation – Supplies and develops optical and fluidic devices for biomedical, telecommunication, and gas flow control systems. Includes product information, relevant publications and contact details.
Coventor – RF MEMS, optical MEMS, microfluidics – software, design, and manufacturing support.
CSEM: Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology – Provider of customized microsystems, microelectronics design, and specialized coatings. Can provide biochemical, magnetic, microfluidic, microrobotic, and optical technologies and consulting.
C2V: Concept to Volume – Designer and manufacturer of MEMS and professional design & simulation software for integrated optics.
delfmems company – Provides consulting, technology transfer, characterization and reliability testing, and post-process modifications of devices.
Engineering Objects, Inc. – A consulting and software tools development company involved in the areas of MEMS and Nanatechnology systems design. Custom software development and consulting services.
Falco Systems – The manufacturer of measurement electronics for MEMS research describes his products.
Honeywell – MEMS Services – Offers MEMS services from single process steps to full product development, from design concept through volume production, test and packaging.
htmicro – Uses a LIGA-like technology for precision manufacturing of microfluidic and micromechanical devices.
Innovative Micro Technology (IMT) – IMT offers strategic partnership, providing 6 inch MEMS wafer fabrication service with experience and resource for design, prototyping, process development, and high volume manufacturing.
Integrated Micromachines – Design, analysis, and fabrication facilities. Current products include MEMS-based optical switches.
Intelligent MEMS Design – Consultants offering product design and process related services. Also does intellectual property support.
IntelliSense – Provides CAD tools for MEMS design, as well as design, consulting, and market research services.
J.P. Sercel Associates – Provides excimer laser services and industrial ultraviolet laser technology for microfabrication.
MEMS Design and Product Realization – Start-up company dedicated to bringing MEMS commercial devices to market. Useful reference material and image and movie galleries.
MEMSCAP – Provides development, design, and manufacturing of MEMS (to OEMs. Specializes in wireless and optical communication, sensors, and CAD services.
MEMtronics – Developer and manufacturer of devices for radio frequency applications. Includes company details and technology information.
microFAB Bremen GmbH – Offers services and manufacturing capacities for the production of microsystems and MEMS, such as sensors and actuators
Micronics – Specializing in fluid miniaturization solutions that integrate and automate laboratory processes on a disposable lab chip.
MicroSurfaces, Inc. – MSI provides surface coating technology to overcome stiction problem in MEMS industry. MSI also provides functional glass slides to biotechnology industry.
Midwest Microdevices MEMS Foundry – Contract manufacturer for customer-specified devices.
NanoMEMS Research, LLC – Radio-frequency MEMS and nanotechnology research, consulting and education.
Protron Mikrotechnik GmbH – Development and manufacturing of customer-specific MEMS. The site describes the services offered with examples of completed work.
Rogue Valley Microdevices – Foundary offering thin silm services such as oxidation and LPCVD nitride. The facility contains a class 100 cleanroom capable of processing wafer sizes up to 200 mm.
Schiller Engineering – Design, analysis, and prototypes of MEMS devices, MEMS packaging, and electro-optic packaging. Includes services and publications.
Sporian Technologies – Provides MEMS (Microelectromechanical Systems) design and packaging services.
Tronics microsystems – Offers MEMS contract manufacturing and foundry services for smart sensors, actuators, microfluidics and RF MEMS.
TRONIC’S Microsystems SA – Designs and manufactures customer-specific MEMS and Optical MEMS components using both SOI surface micromachining and bulk micromachining.
Volant Technologies – Offers MEMS Design and Prototype Services. Description of services offered, research and publications.
Xactix – MEMS device and equipment development and manufacturing company. Verimetra subsidiary develops bioMEMS devices. Includes MEMS links page.