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Developing MEMS for Marine Sensors
Written by Gizmo   
Monday, 29 January 2007 20:27

Read the full story at Advanced Packaging:

'MEMS is an enabling technology allowing for 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. It involves the integration of mechanical elements, sensors, actuators, and electronics on a common substrate through microfabrication technology. While the electronics are fabricated using integrated circuit (IC) process sequences, 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.

Microelectronic ICs 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 process the information and direct the actuators to respond by moving, positioning, regulating, pumping, and filtering, thereby controlling the environment for some desired outcome or purpose.

The University of South Florida’s Center for Ocean Technology in St. Petersburg has been working on the development of MEMS for use in marine sensor applications, among others. Engineers at the Center were looking for a technology that would allow them to micromachine micron-scale features on MEMS with precise accuracy and controllability. A MEMS device incorporating tiny movable mirrors that are approximately 100-µm wide, is key to these optical devices’ operation. At these dimensions and tolerances, mechanical material processing was no longer feasible, so UV laser (excimer) micromachining technology was considered.'

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