MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) are made up of miniature components that can acquire, analyze and process data and generate a desired mechanical output. Wet processing equipment can be used to manufacture these mechanical components and create electrical links. The structures in MEMS that are fabricated using wet processing equipment can range in size from several micrometers to millimeters. Devices using MEMS are characterized by high performance, excellent reproducibility and low cost. When wet processing equipment is used in their manufacture, these characteristics may be enhanced and costs may even decrease.
The components making up MEMS include sensors, electronics, transducers and micro-structures. Micro-sensors can acquire practically any physical quantity, such as temperature, pressure, magnetic fields or radiation. Micro-electronics can range from simple circuits to powerful microprocessors. Micro-transducers change electrical quantities to physical outputs and the outputs can act on microstructures included in the MEMS. For example, a temperature sensor might detect a high temperature. The micro-electronics evaluate the process and determine that cooling liquid is required. A transducer receives a corresponding command and opens a valve, allowing cooling liquid to flow. Other possible micro-structures include micro-motors which can drive miniature pumps, micro-flaps to control gas flow and miniature mirrors to control light beams.
Wet processing equipment provides the micro-fabrication capabilities to meet some of the requirements of MEMS manufacturing. The production of electrical links, the removal of sacrificial layers and the creation of micro-structures to support components are all possible in chemical baths. For example, a sensor, microprocessor and actuator all need to be supplied with electrical power and their signals must be electrically interconnected. A metal etcher can create the necessary conductor links. A miniature mechanical actuator or a micro-motor may have to be supported and they can be placed on layers built up and etched for that purpose. Then these components, which have moving parts, must be given space for that motion. A sacrificial layer underneath the parts which move can be etched away.
While wet processing can help with MEMS fabrication, it can support this new technology in other ways as well. A key characteristic of MEMS is excellent reproducibility of performance outputs when their fabrication is accurate. Automated wet processing equipment ensures that process parameters are consistent and product variability is low. The dimensions of the resulting micro-structures are accurate enough that the resulting MEMS can maintain a high and consistent performance.
Another advantage of using wet process is production cost. The attractiveness of MEMS is high performance at low cost, and wet process equipment batch manufacturing can decrease the cost of producing MEMS compared to other fabrication options. Overall, using wet processing equipment to support MEMS manufacturing is an attractive option worth considering.
Modutek Corporation provides advanced semiconductor manufacturing and wet processing equipment and provides extensive experience in customizing equipment to meet all their customer’s requirements. If you have any questions about using Modutek’s wet processing equipment or other products or need help in choosing the right equipment for your application, email us at [email protected] or call us at 866-803-1533.