Micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) are instruments formed by integrating mechanical and electronic elements onto a single silicon substrate using the different processes of semiconductor wafer fabrication and micromachining. This not only allows for new technology but also updates older technology, revolutionizing it in away that could never have been done before.
MEMS are made of components between 1 to 100 micrometers in size and the devices range usually from 20 micrometers to a millimeter. They also consist of a central unit that processes data as well as a microprocessor and components like microsensors that interact with the outside. The standard constructs of classical physics, however, do not always hold true at this small size. Surface effects such as electrostatics dominates over a volume effect like inertia.
Micro-electro-mechanical systems allow microelectronic devices to not only work on a higher plain as a sensor in terms of feeling the surroundings but also to physically affect objects through motors, hinges, pivots, gears, etc.
MEMS have the exciting potential for many future applications, including artificial intelligence and the ability to explore the human body on a microscopic level. Currently they are more commonly used for every day purposes. They are often seen in things like airbag deployment systems, input devices for gaming consoles, blood pressure sensors, inkjet printer systems, optical switching systems and even micromirror arrays for projection televisions.
Micro-electro-mechanical systems have a number of different processes that they can perform. This includes the following:
MEMS technology can be used on a variety of different materials as well as manufacturing techniques. The type of material or technique employed depends on the device being created. This can either be done with silicon, polymers, or metals.