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Raj Nagarajan, Ph.D.

Professor Electronics and Advanced Technologies Austin Community College

The objective of the module is to introduce micro- and nano electromechanical systems to two year community college students with special emphasis on the development, processing, applications, and materials that are currently in use to produce MEMS/NEMS.

Introduction Brief History Electromechanical Systems MEMS Current Applications NEMS and Nanotechnology Impact of Miniaturization Challenges and Possibilities References


Figure 5.1: Jonathan Swift.

Courtesy Sandia National Laboratories, SUMMiT Technologies,

Figure 5.1: Drive gear chain and linkages, with a grain of pollen (top right) and coagulated red blood cells (lower right, top left) to demonstrate scale. 4

Introduction, Continued

Figure 5.2: The Scale of Things. 5

Introduction, Continued
Definition and Terms
MST - Microsystems Technology (European) MEMS - Microelectromechanical Systems (U.S.) Manmade devices created using compatible microfabrication techniques that are capable of Converting physical stimuli, events and parameters to electrical, mechanical & optical signals Performing actuation, sensing and other functions

Introduction, Continued

Image Courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories, SUMMiTTM Technologies,

Figure 5.3: Spider mite with legs on a mirror drive assembly. 7

Brief History
1962 1967 1967 1972 1979 1982 1982 1983 1983 1983 1985 1987 1993 1994 1999 Silicon Integrated piezo actuators BY O.N. Tufte et al. Anisotropic deep silicon etching H.A. Waggener The resonant gate transistor by H. Nathanson, National Semiconductor - Pressure Sensor Thermal inkjet technology is invented at HP laboratories Silicon as a Mechanical Material K. Peterson Liga Process (KFIK, Germany) Infinitesimal Machinery R. Feynman Silicon Micromechanical devices J.B.Angel etc. Integrated Pressure Sensor Honeywell Airbag Crash Sensor Dr. Hornbeck Digital Micromirror Device or DMD (DLP by Texas Instruments) Later in 1990s micromachining begins leveraging microelectronics industry Accelerometer integrated with electronics Analog devices DRIE Etching (Bosch process is patented) Optical network switch - Lucent

Electromechanical Systems
Functional Block Diagram

Figure 5.4: Electromechanical Systems functional block diagram. 9

Microstructure Fabrication
Crystallography Forms of Silicon Amorphous Polycrystalline Crystalline Miller Planes

Figure 5.5: Miller Indices, Direction Examples 10

MEMS, Continued
Microstructure Fabrication, Continued
-Structural layer -Sacrificial layer



Pattern definition Photolithography Deposition Oxidation, chemical-vapor deposition, ion implantation Removal Etching, evaporation


Figure 5.6: Microstructure Fabrication 11

MEMS, Continued
Microstructure Fabrication, Continued

Processing Techniques
Deep Reactive Ion Etching (DRIE) Surface Micromachining LIGA process Lithography / Electroplating / Molding SUMMIT process


MEMS, Continued
MEMS Advantages
The advantages of MEMS devices include Size

High sensitivity
Low noise Reduced cost Batch Processing The applications for MEMS are so far reaching that a multi-billion dollar market is forecast. Key industry applications include transportation, telecommunications and healthcare.


MEMS, Continued
MEMS Economy
Worldwide MEMS Markets (in Millions of $) Microfluidics Optical MEMS RF MEMS Other actuators Inertial sensors Pressure sensors Other sensors Total

2002 1401 702 39 117 819 546 273 3900

2007 2241 1826 249 415 1826 917 830 8300

Figure 5.7: Worldwide MEMS Market (2002 vs. 2007) 14

Current Applications
Accelerometers Micro Optical Electro Mechanical Systems (MOEMS) Digital Mirror Devices (DMD) used in Projection Devices Deformable mirrors

Optical Switches
Inkjet Print heads (Microfluidics) Pressure Sensors Gyrometers Magnetic RW heads for hard drives Seismic Activities - Thermal transfer


Current Applications, Continued

Micro-arrayed biosensors
Virus detection DNA Chip PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) Neuron probes (nerve damage/repair)

Retina/Cochlear Implants
Micro Needles ChemLab Micro Fluidic Pumps - Insulin Pump (drug delivery)


Current Applications, Continued

Detection systems
Hand held detectors biological & chemical microsensors Chems Lab on a Chip (security applications) Micro and Radio Frequency (RF) Switches RFID Technologies Modern bar-coding system increasingly used on toll roads and materials handling applications Data Storage Systems

IBM Millipede storage system AFM tip writes data bit by melting a depression into polymer mediaum and reads data by sensing depressions.

NEMS and Nanotechnology

manipulation of matter at the nanometer scale.

Started with carbon. Behavior depends on morphology.

Figure 5.8: Eight allotropes of carbon: Diamond, graphite, lonsdaleite, C60, C540, C70, amorphous carbon and carbon nanotube 18

NEMS and Nanotechnology, Continued

Quantum dots Nanowires Quantum films

Figure 5.9: Quantum Dots. 19

NEMS and Nanotechnology, Continued

Nano Fabrication Electrostatic manipulation
Moving one electron or molecule at a time Patterning

Dip Pen Lithography

Electron Beam Lithography Self assembly


NEMS and Nanotechnology, Continued

Merging of technologies
Cantilever Sensors Mass Storage (IBM) Millipede chip Nanochip Molecular Electronics Transistors Memory cells Nanowires Nanoswitches


NEMS and Nanotechnology, Continued

Merging of technologies
Cantilever sensors are essentially MEMS cantilevers with chemical arrays attached. The cantilevers, acting much like tuning forks, have a natural frequency of vibration which changes as more mass is attached (nano function). The change in frequency is sensed by the MEMS device indicating a measurable presence in the system of particular reacting compound.
Selective chemical layer


Reacting compound

Figure 5.10: Cantilever sensor 22

Impact of Miniaturization
Potential Positive Impacts Reduction of disease. Job opportunities in new fields. Low-cost energy. Cost reductions with improved efficiencies. Improved product and building materials. Transportation improvements Potential Negative Impacts Material toxicity Non-biodegradable materials. Unanticipated consequences. Job losses due to increased manufacturing efficiencies.

Challenges and Possibilities

Fundamental and applied research Engineering and technological developments High Fidelity Modeling High Yield / Low Cost Fabrication

Molecular manufacturing


Gad-el-Hak, M. MEMS, Design and Fabrication, Second Edition. (2005) Lyshevski, S., MEMS and NEMS, CRC Press LLC. (2002) Maluf, N. and Williams, K., An Introduction to Micromechanical Systems Engineering, Second Edition, Artechouse, Inc. (2004) Microsytems, Same-Tec 2005 Preconference Workshop, July 25 &26, 2005. Taylor and Francis, MEMS Introductory Course, Sandia National Laboratories, June 13-15, 2006. What is MEMS technology? MEMS and Nanotechnology Clearinghouse.