Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), micro systems technologies (MST), and micromanufacturing are relatively recent phrases or acronyms that have become synonymous with the design, development, and manufacture of 'micro' devices and systems. Micromanufacturing encompasses MEMS or MST and, in addition, includes all of the processes involved in the production of micro things. Integration of mechanical and electrical components, including built-in computers, can be formed into systems which must be connected to the macroworld. Macro, mini, micro, and nano technologies are all a part of MEMS or micromanufacturing. At this point in the development of the technology, it is becoming apparent that mini systems, with micro components, could very well be the economic drivers of the technology for the foreseeable future. Initial research in the fabrication of microdevices using IC processing technology took place over thirty years ago. Anisotropic etching of silicon was used to produce piezoresistive diaphragms. Since the early 60's, there has been gradual progress in MEMS until the early 1980's when worldwide interest in the technology really started to develop. During this time high aspect ratio micromachining using x rays was started in Germany. In 1987 the concept of a 'silicon micromechanics foundry' was proposed. Since then the interest in the U.S., Germany, and Japan has increased to the point where hundreds of millions of dollars of research monies are being funneled into the technology (at least in Germany and Japan) and the technology has been classified as critical or as a technology or national importance by the U.S. government.
Microtechnologies and Applications to Space Systems
- Pub Date:
- June 1993
- Microminiaturized Electronic Devices;
- Heat Exchangers;
- Smart Structures;
- Engineering (General)