Industrial and Manufacturing

What are MEMs?

Summary: MEMs are an exciting revolution in modern manufacturing.

When you turn your smartphone on its side, the technology inside that makes the screen flip to a panoramic view is what’s known as a microelectromechanical systems. MEMs are somewhat different from nanotechnology, technically larger in size, but function very much the same way. Once it become plausible to utilize advanced manufacturing techniques like plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition, MEMs became one step closer to becoming reality.

How MEMs are Made

MEMs are made using a number of techniques depending on what is needed. In bulk, they are bonded to glass plates using a process similar to etching. PECVD is used to etch micron-thin layers of materials onto the surface of the substrate. The process helps to cut down on unevenness in the layers, which can affect the application for the MEM system. If the layer is too thick, for example, it may inhibit MEMs from working as an accelerometer.

Using MEMS

MEMs already find a variety of uses in objects we use every day. Smartphones are the most obvious, but anything that uses accelerometer technology utilizes MEMs in some form or another. MEMs commonly appear as sensors, actuators, or structures. You also find MEMs used in inkjet printers, where they help disperse ink over the paper to make whatever design is being printed similar to the process used in a magnetron sputtering system. MEMs even find a home in the receiver of a cell phone, where they are used to make the microphone that you speak through.

MEMs are bringing nanotechnology into the realm of the everyday, and they are becoming cheaper to produce as time goes by.

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