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What is MEMS Technology?

By on May 12, 2013
Technology

MEMS technology can be found in so many areas of our everyday lives, and yet how
many of us really know what it’s all about?
MEMS technology, or Microelectromechanical systems are changing the way we live
our lives, but we don’t quite understand how it is all happening. Products get faster,
smaller and more attractive. They become more aesthetically pleasing to feed our
need to be on the forefront of leading consumer technology.
Technology

In a simple form, MEMS is miniaturized mechanical and electro-mechanical
elements. By elements I am referring to devices and structures. So basically, smaller
components with a higher performance, depending on their application. When I say
smaller, I mean as small as 0.02 to 1.0mm in size. The MEMS devices all have some
level of mechanical function in order to create an outcome, whether it is the
movement of fluid or the activation of another device.
To go even more to the point, MEMS allow the minaturization of existing devices.
Mobility with efficiency is everything in our modern times. Think about mobile
phones, and consider using one of the first commercial mobile phones. How much
impracticality are you faced with on switching your iPhone 5 for a Motorola DynaTac
8000x?

TECNOLOGYMany devices are now being redesigned to
meet consumer needs with the incorporation of
a MEMS component over an original
component to fit the purpose. An example
would be a MEMS oscillator replacing a crystal
oscillator in a device, for many reasons from
cost, to precision and temperature management.
The areas of MEMS technology can be structured as follows:

Micro Sensors- detects a physical movement or quantity and converts it into a
signal
Micro Actuators- the device in control of a motion being triggered or stopped
Micro Electronics- very small electronic designs and components such as
MEMS Oscillators. MEMS electronics are used in the electronics world to aid
sequencing electronic systems; data transfer, measure time and define radio
frequencies.
Micro Structures
One of the most common functions of a MEMS device is the microstructure side of
MEMS being able to convert one type of energy into another. A measured mechanical
signal can be converted into an electrical signal with MEMS microstructures.
MEMS can also be viewed in terms of their commercial application:

Accelerometers – In the deployment of airbags in car collisions.
The accelerometer used in a wide variety of consumer gaming and mobile
devices, including the Nintendo Wii and iPhone, plus many more. This plays
in part of the motion detection of our devices and delivers the ‘real life’
experience that many consumer gaming products now provide us.
Bio-MEMS- The use of MEMS in the healthcare industry, in both apparatus
and in devices such as stents, when dealing with blood flow.
Fluid acceleration- micro-cooling systems in a variety of applications
Ink-Jet Printers- MEMS are used to deposit the ink on the paper
(piezoelectrics)
MEMS Oscillators –MEMS oscillators are used extensively in computing,
automotive, networking and industrial systems.

About Tom Clark

Tom Clark likes to question technology and understand how we are progressing at the rate that we are. He writes on MEMS technology and Crystal Oscillators, as well as a variety of other technology based subjects. Image credit to orijinal and ahmedfouadeldin

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