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[memz or ¦em¦ē¦em′es]
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


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(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.)
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References in periodicals archive ?
Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) are micrometer-scale devices that integrate electrical and mechanical elements with sizes ranging from micrometers to millimeters.
With contributions by researchers from around the world, this volume edited by Gauthier (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) and Regnier (head, micromanipulation team, Institut des Systemes Intelligents et Robotique) covers state of the art techniques for the assembly of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) through the use of robots.
The Qualcomm MEMS (Microelectromechanical systems) Technologies group will now report to Steve Mollenkopf, who is president of the company's core CDMA (Code-Division Multiple Access) Technologies group.
Colton Medal for Research Excellence recognizes excellence in research leading to new understanding and novel developments in microsystems and related technologies, such as Photonics/Optoelectronics, Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS), Microelectronics, Microfluidics and Embedded Software, or the application of microsystems and related technologies in Canada.
The micro-induction coils are applicable for a variety of medical applications including miniature loop antennas for both active and passive implanted devices, biomedical microelectromechanical systems (BioMEMS) sensor units, and neuro-stimulation devices.
This paper presents the technological limits of rapid prototyping by material accretion in order to obtain microelectromechanical systems.
The centerpiece is use of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), a type of nanotechnology, in data collection equipment.
Chapter 5 expands on the solid-state technology available in the 21st century and includes heterojunction bipolar transistors, radio frequency integrated circuits (RFIC) and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS).
Michael Gaitan is an electrical engineer and the Project Leader of the MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) Project, Semiconductor Electronics Division, NIST Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory.
Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) promises exciting solutions for a myriad of applications by allowing the micro-scale integration of mechanical elements with supporting integrated circuits.
And as innovations like microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), Wi-Fi, ultra wideband and others mature, the possibilities expand.
Nano-structured materials like the new copper could have applications in microelectromechanical systems, for which suitable alloys may be more difficult to produce and may be more pr one to corrosion, and in biomedical devices, where pure metals are preferable to alloys that could expose the body to toxic metallic or non-metallic elements.

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