The overall MEMS market has a bright future and will grow by 8% a year to 2024, according to new research from Yole Developpement.
In 2018, the MEMS market reached $11.6 billion globally, and will grow to $18 billion in 2024, Yole predicted in the SEMI blog on Aug. 14.
MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) refers to devices and structures that are made using microfabrication. These devices range from well below one micron in size to several millimeters. Some have no moving elements while others have moving elements. Functional elements are microsensors and microactuators, which are transducers that convert energy from one form to another, such as turning a mechanical signal into an electrical signal.
When MEMS and other types of sensors are combined, they make up about 10% of the world’s total integrated circuit market, according to Yole. That combined market was $48 billion in 2018 and will reach $93 billion in 2024.
MEMS devices are used to describe pressure, radio frequency, and inertial measurements, and in the future will be used to detect ultrasonic fingerprints. They appear in everything from inkjet heads to gyroscopes, microphones, accelerometers and pressure sensors of all types.
MEMS also have a “make-smarter enabling capability,” according to Yole analyst Dimitrios Damianos. That means they provide context for new apps and services in various industries including transportation, mobility, health and security.
Damiano noted that Alibaba and Google use MEMS in their smart home, smart campus, smart city and smart industry apps. MEMS can be accurate, small, use low power and remain always on. With edge computing and the broad use of sensor fusion, more data will be processed about our surroundings. “This has a huge impact in all markets, especially consumer,” Damiano said.
The big foundries in MEMS all saw revenue increases in 2018. They include STMicroelectronics, Teledyne Dalsa, Silex, IMT, Micralyne and Philips Innovation Service. Medical applications use MEMS for microfluidics, flowmeters, pressure and inertial.
Industrial applications include inkjet heads, microbolometers and pressure sensors. RF MEMS and oscillators will be used in 5G infrastructure. In auto applications, accelerometers and pressure sensors are the major share of MEMS, but more devices are being installed in cars than ever, including MEMS for intertial measurement and environmental MEMS for gas and particle monitoring inside the car and microphones for hands-free voice commands, Damianos said.
Radio frequency MEMS known as BAW filers will be used in smartphones that run over 5G in the sub-6 GHz bands.
Damianos will speak about MEMS at the SEMI MEMS and Imaging Sensors Summit in September.