MEMS foundry services suppliers design and manufacture microelectromechanical devices on a contract basis, in prototype to production quantities. MEMS are micro scale systems (
100 microns) that include both mechanical and electrical devices integrated on a single die or chip. MOEMS are micro-optical-electromechanical systems consisting of MEMS devices with integral optical components such as mirrors, lenses, filters, laser diodes, emitters or other optics. A MEMS system may include microfluidic elements, integral microelectronics or ICs, lab-on-chip systems, actuators, micromotors or sensors.
Some of the main services provided by MEMS foundry suppliers are design and engineering, research and development (R&D), prototyping, production scale-up, and full-production.
Design and engineering involves the MEMS foundry with determining concepts, manufacturing costs, manufacturing techniques and material considerations. The MEMS foundry may also be able to assist in upgrading or redesigning, re-evaluating or modernizing existing products to increase performance and/or reduce manufacturing costs. Suppliers often employ CAD, structural and thermal analysis software to improve the design process.
Research and development includes providing new or specialized MEMS devices and manufacturing processes on a contract basis, to meet the requirements of specific applications. Also, the MEMS foundry may research underlying factors or properties required for consistently controlling material critical components and maintaining product performance.
In prototyping, the MEMS foundry has the capacity to construct a small batch of representative parts for use for presentations and functional testing. This is different from scale-up (where the MEMS foundry provides an initial run of product) or full production, where the foundry can provide sustained high volume runs.
Some of the specific processes in which MEMS foundries engage are 2D and 3D micromachining, CVD and PVD thin film deposition, dry etching (plasma / RIE), inspection and testing, LIGA, electroplating, oxidation and diffusion, packaging and backend processing, photolithography, screen-printing, wafer bonding, and wet and chemical etching.