Micro Electro Mechanical Systems, or MEMS, are simply extremely small machines or electronic devices. These microscopic devices are currently measured with dimensions in microns (or millionths of a metre). Although not in the nano size range, MEMS devices are considered part of nanotechnology sciences as it is expected that MEMS will be a critical key to building nanotechnology enabled devices of the future. MEMS might also be referred to as Micro System Technology (MST).
Component Parts of MEMS
As with large scale machines, MEMS can have a number of component parts and they are normally analogous to the parts in normal machines. These component parts include gears, bearings, motors, levers and electronics for detectors, sensors, controls and actuation.
How Are MEMS Constructed?
MEMS are constructed using techniques similar to those used for making computer chips. These modified processes include various forms of nanolithography and deposition.
Applications For MEMS
MEMS are already a part of the lives of most people in the Western world. MEMS are used in accelerometer sensors contained within automotive airbags and are key components in inkjet printers and disposable blood pressure meters. Areas under development include the use of MEMS to control micro mirrors for reflecting image beams in advanced displays and the possibility of using MEMS devices inside the human body for medical applications.