Silex Microsystems, a leading pure-play MEMS foundry, and A.M. Fitzgerald & Associates (“AMFitzgerald”), a MEMS product development firm, today announced that first results of the AMFitzgerald RocketMEMS(tm) program validate the original goal to reduce MEMS development time by 6-12 months.
With a family of working pressure sensors now in its lab, AMFitzgerald is ready to enable OEMs to begin incorporating MEMS into their products. OEM customers would simply provide a set of their desired sensor specifications to AMFitzgerald who has developed a standard sensor design architecture based on the Silex SmartBlock(tm) technology. This program will save OEM customers significant development costs and dramatically reduce the overall design and development time of MEMS.
RocketMEMS, which is initially targeted at the pressure sensor market, heralds a new model for designer-foundry collaboration that enables rapid and cost-effective development of semi-custom MEMS sensors. The program eliminates one of the time-consuming pieces of MEMS development, custom process flow development, by starting with a reference design tailored for specific foundry capabilities. The model can be replicated to bring other MEMS sensors to a wide range of markets such as industrial, aerospace, and medical, among others that are not being served by current commercially-available MEMS. Customers who utilize the RocketMEMS program will simply need to submit their sensor specifications to AMFitzgerald who will tailor its designs to fit the specific customer’s needs and then release this design to Silex as either a standalone mask set or as part of a multi-project wafer (MPW).
“This achievement validates our belief that there is a much better way to handle the product and process design aspects for MEMS products, which in turn can accelerate time-to-market for entire classes of devices,” said Peter Himes, Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Alliances for Silex Microsystems. “The SmartBlock approach has always been central to Silex’s engagement process with our innovative MEMS customers and the RocketMEMS program represents a way to take that further. We view this as a design enablement approach toward process integration and by working together with AMFitzgerald, the market will see the benefits of this effort very soon.”
“When you design for qualified, characterized process modules and you know exactly what the foundry is capable of producing, you get great results on the first run,” said Dr. Alissa M. Fitzgerald, Founder and Managing Member of AMFitzgerald. “This is what RocketMEMS is all about. We can now serve a wide variety of industries with the confidence that we can bring our verified MEMS designs to the foundry and get good product right away. We’re making it as easy as possible for OEMs to get customized MEMS.”
“The RocketMEMS Program is a first step to break the Yole Développement rule ‘One Product, One Process,’ while allowing any system integrator to benefit from customized high-end MEMS products,” said Frederic Breussin, Business Unit Manager, MEMS & Sensors at Yole Développement.
Availability of an Evaluation Kit
AMFitzgerald also announced today the immediate availability of a pressure sensor evaluation kit. This kit includes a packaged sensor that plugs into a circuit board having both analog and I2C output, software, and a convenient USB interface so customers can take it out of the box and start measuring pressure right away. The kit will also include a sensor specification sheet and guidance on which specs may be customized.
For more information on the evaluation kit, customers should contact [email protected].
About the Silex SmartBlock Approach
Silex developed the SmartBlock framework in response to the recognition that the IC industry’s model of fixed, standardized process flows does not transfer to MEMS devices. Silex’s SmartBlock technology standardizes and characterizes MEMS process steps at the module level, in a way that allows Silex to define new flows for customer’s MEMS designs, while decreasing process risk.