MEMS Bottleneck Uncorked


British electronics company Nanusens says it has a solution for a major problem in the electronics industry, that problem being the production of key components, which are found in almost every electronic device, is limited by the current manufacturing methods. These are the sensors that are used to provide awareness to make them smart, as in smartphones, smart houses, and smart cars. Called MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems), every sensor design is unique and needs a specially developed production process that can take up to seven years to perfect. This makes production ramp-up slow and tedious, which is the bottleneck preventing the MEMS market growing from billions to trillions of units a year.


Nanusens claims to have solved this by making MEMS sensors with the same standard production processes, called CMOS, that are used to make electronic chips. Its unique approach builds sensor structures within the chip rather than on the surface as is done currently. This means that Nanusens can have its sensor chips made in any fab, in whatever volumes it requires, solving the volume production barrier of current MEMS products. This unlocks the MEMS market so that it can now grow to the trillions as has been predicted, especially with IoT, but so far has been unable to realize.


Nanusen sensor designs are also much smaller than current microscopic MEMS designs as they are on the nanoscale. This makes them NEMS (Nano Electro Mechanical Systems). The NEMS structures are built at the same time and on the same chip as the electronics needed to control them as the production processes are the same. Everything on one chip means that the final packaged solution measures only 1 mm3. As conventional MEMS sensor packages each must contain a chip for the control electronics and a chip for the larger MEMS structure, they are four times bigger at 4 mm3. For more details, visit Nanusens.