By Cameron Chai
A multi-year collaboration has led to a reduction in the development time for MEMS devices by 50%. Silex Microsystems, a pure-play MEMS foundry, and AMFitzgerald, a provider of solutions for MEMS product development have partnered in the collaboration.
AMFitzgerald was provided access to Silex’s Sil-Via technology platform, which enables increased functionality and smaller form factors in MEMS devices. Being a full-wafer thickness via, the Silex Sil-Via platform consists of a DRIE etched post that is enclosed by an isolating material. This leads to a mechanically robust interconnect with low impedance, which avoids thermal mismatches that occur in metal-based via technologies. The Silex Sil-Via platform utilizes the newest through-silicon-vias packaging technology, which leads to lower costs and smaller form factors. It can be used for wafer-level packaging as well as for MEMS processing.
The collaboration has led to faster completion of many MEMS designs, which are poised for mass production in Silex's 6 in. and 8 in. fabrication facilities. The typical project completion times for such MEMS projects take over a year, while the collaboration completed the project in six months.
Integration of the packaging solution in MEMS development at the prototype stage will facilitate customers to rapidly progress and move into mass production. The medical and bio-technology sectors are expected to increase their utilization of MEMS devices. The Yole Development MEMS report for April 2011 predicts the Bio-MEMS market to exceed $5 billion in 2016, growing from $1.75 billion in 2011 at 24% annually.
Bio-MEMS applications that have imaging or diagnostic arrays and similar array-based sensor that need small form factors and high-density IO will benefit from the multi-year collaboration. Other sensor applications including pressure sensors, optical sensors, motion sensors and oscillators can also gain from this collaboration.