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[memz or ¦em¦ē¦em′es]



(MicroElectroMechanical Systems) Tiny mechanical devices that are built onto semiconductor chips and are measured in micrometers. In the research labs since the 1980s, MEMS devices began to materialize as commercial products in the mid-1990s. They are used to make pressure, temperature, chemical and vibration sensors, light reflectors and switches, as well as accelerometers for vehicle airbags, smartphones, tablets and games (see accelerometer).

MEMS technology is also used to make inkjet print heads, microactuators for read/write heads and all-optical switches that reflect light beams to the appropriate output port.

When optical components are included in a MEMS device, it is called a micro-opto-electromechanical system (MOEMS). For example, adding a photonic sensor to a silicon chip constitutes a MOEMS device. See micromachine, MEMS mirror, DLP and optical switch.

MEMS Vs. Nanotechnology
Sometimes MEMS and nanotechnology are terms that are used interchangeably, because they both deal with microminiaturized objects. However, they are vastly different. MEMS deals with creating devices that are measured in micrometers, whereas nantotechnology deals with manipulating atoms at the nanometer level.

MEMS-based Optical Switch
In an all-optical switch, MEMS mirrors reflect the input signal to an output port without regard to line speed or protocol. This technology is expected to be the dominant method for building photonic switches.

Sample Micromachines
Microfabrica's EFAB system was the first MEMS foundry process to accept CAD files as input, turning customer designs into micromachines much faster than traditional methods. EFAB builds the devices one metal layer at a time. In this image, the square at the top is a microfluidics device with internal passageways used for a "lab on a chip." The multi-arm device (center) is a fuel injection nozzle. Bottom left is an accelerometer, and bottom right is an inductor used in RF circuits. (Image courtesy of Microfabrica Inc.,

MEMS-Based Accelerometer
MEMSIC's dual-axis thermal accelerator is a MEMS-based semiconductor device that works conceptually like the air bubble in a construction level. The square in the middle of the chip is a resistor that heats up a gas bubble. The next larger squares contain thermal couples that sense the location of the heated bubble as the device is tilted or accelerated. (Image courtesy of MEMSIC, Inc.)
References in periodicals archive ?
Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) are micrometer-scale devices that integrate electrical and mechanical elements with sizes ranging from micrometers to millimeters.
XCOM develops revolutionary products based on their world-class expertise in Radio-Frequency, MicroElectroMechanical Systems (RF MEMS) that enable a new generation of test equipment and radio architectures.
Zyvex will design, test, and characterize microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS), create assembled micro- and nanosystems, and develop software for MEMS design, verification, visualization, and simulation.
The development of microelectromechanical systems is still in its infancy Researchers face a host of obstacles in their efforts to design, build, program, and control such devices.
The "World of MEMS" is the user forum within MicroNanoWorld that is dedicated to microelectromechanical systems.
Harris & Harris Group is a publicly traded venture capital company that makes initial investments exclusively in tiny technology, including nanotechnology, microsystems and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS).
In his talk, titled "Transforming Science into Real World Products," Victor Lifton refers to a recent study by WTC Consulting of Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) for consumer products, which called mobile phones "the dangling carrot" for integrated compasses.
The unique properties of UNCD enable microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) to directly integrate with silicon microchips, resulting in faster, more reliable wireless communications systems.

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