Mervi Paulasto-Kröckel (Professor, Aalto University) in “On the Reliability Characterization of MEMS Devices” examined the current methods for reliability assessment in MEMS devices and identified necessary improvements. Currently, the reliability of MEMS devices are evaluated in the functioning state. A sensor is tested by applying a known stimulus and comparing the sensor output while varying the test conditions such as temperature, humidity, etc. MEMS actuators are similarly tested by providing a known input and measuring the output of the actuator over the range of test conditions. Significant deviation between the expected and measured result indicates a failure. Simple functional test is appropriate for manufacturing quality testing however it is inadequate for measuring and improving device reliability.
Pavan Gupta (Vice President of Operations, SiTime) provided a cautionary tale in “Packaging and Reliability Qualification of MEMS Resonator Devices”. Historically many MEMS companies have failed to start the device and packageco-design as early as possible even though packaging was upwards of 80% of the product cost. [Perhaps they aren’t really using a concurrent engineering methodology?] Even though the cost of packaging has dropped significantly, the complexities and risks related to packaging remain high.
There are many challenges related to MEMS packaging since without a reliable and qualified package, it is not possible for one’s customers to easily and confidently integrate a MEMS product into their end product. In SiTime’s case they had a double challenge of Continue reading “MEMS Testing and Reliability 2012 – Session 3”
Mårten Vrånes (Director of Consulting Services, MEMS Journal) in “A Test-centric Approach to MEMS ASIC Development” discussed alternatives to the traditional co-design of the MEMS element and application specific integrated circuit (ASIC). As many MEMS devices require an ASIC to control and/or sense the MEMS element the most logical approach is to design both parts in parallel. However the scope of such a development effort is often beyond the resources – both in terms of talent and funding – for many companies especially startups.
Limitations imposed by extreme temperature, extreme pressure, and toxic materials combined with a typically slow deposition rate make it is difficult to economically run these processes on an industrial scale for high volume manufacturing. But what if there was a process that Continue reading “Green on the Industrial Scale”
If we were focused on just these two parameters, we could be talking about horses, cars, or airplanes. But throw in density, endurance, and price and it is a horse race of different color. Not only does the winning technology have to balance speed and power, it needs to pack more functionality per area at a lower cost than existing solutions. Along with the endurance to last ten or more years.
At Tuesday’s IEEE Nanotechnology Forum, Phil Metz, Director of Business Development for SolFocus, discussed their technology in his presentation “SolFocus Concentrator Photovoltaics – An Introduction“. Though I enjoyed learning about their concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) technology (the presentation was appropriately focused for the audience), I had a greater appreciation for their integrated system approach including the economics. This was evident in the non-technical details he shared. As an early adopter with a residential photovoltaic (PV) system, I was surprised when comparing systems beyond the core technology.
Both CPV and PV systems convert the energy radiated from the sun to direct current (DC) power. Most “grid tie” systems then use an inverter to convert the DC power to alternating current (AC) power which is then fed into the power grid. Beyond these basic similarities, there are large differences in technology, complexity, and economics between the systems.
College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CSNE). Not organized around traditional degrees (ME, EE, Chem-E, etc.) but around nanoscience, nanoengineering, nanobioscience, & nanofinance.
Due to R&D increasing as a percentage of revenue, very few companies will be able to continue making the investments in process development on their own. Therefore, over time there will be a migration to 2 or 3 technology clusters (or “camps”) worldwide.