Three new standards for MEMS devices

July 16, 2004

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), along with their colleagues at several companies, are completing experiments that validate new standards aimed at improving emerging new microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS, devices.

Microaccelerometers, the devices used to activate automotive airbags, are MEMS devices. In the future, microscopic MEMs devices made with gears and motors may, for example, be developed to clear blockages in arteries.

NIST scientists presented their findings at the semiconductor industry's annual SEMICON West trade show, held July 12-16, 2004, in San Francisco.

Working with ASTM International, NIST has developed three new standards aimed at helping researchers measure more accurately several characteristics of materials used to construct MEMS devices. With more accurate measurements of microsystem materials, designers and manufacturers hope to improve the design and performance of these devices. Currently, laboratories measuring the properties of similar device materials produce widely varying results.

Each new standard is a set of procedures for measuring dimensions or a particular materials property. One standard advances the "in-plane length" measurement of a microsystem, or its length in one dimension, typically from 25 micrometers to 1,000 micrometers. A second standard would improve measurement of "residual strain," or the strain the parts of a microsystem undergo before they relax after the removal of the stiff oxides that surround them during manufacturing. The final standard aims to improve measurement of the "strain gradient," which determines the maximum distance that a MEMS component can be suspended in air before it begins to bend or curl.

Six companies have been collaborating with NIST on a so-called "round robin" experiment to validate the MEMS standards. The standards should significantly reduce variations in measurements between laboratories.

Explore further: Tiny sensors put the squeeze on light

Related Stories

Tiny sensors put the squeeze on light

October 24, 2013

Microelectromechanical systems, known as MEMS, are ubiquitous in modern military systems such as gyroscopes for navigation, tiny microphones for lightweight radios, and medical biosensors for assessing the wounded. Such applications ...

Recommended for you

The dark side of Nobel prizewinning research

October 4, 2015

Think of the Nobel prizes and you think of groundbreaking research bettering mankind, but the awards have also honoured some quite unhumanitarian inventions such as chemical weapons, DDT and lobotomies.

Internet giants race to faster mobile news apps

October 4, 2015

US tech giants are turning to the news in their competition for mobile users, developing new, faster ways to deliver content, but the benefits for struggling media outlets remain unclear.

Trade in invasive plants is blossoming

October 3, 2015

Every day, hundreds of different plant species—many of them listed as invasive—are traded online worldwide on auction platforms. This exacerbates the problem of uncontrollable biological invasions.

Fusion reactors 'economically viable' say experts

October 2, 2015

Fusion reactors could become an economically viable means of generating electricity within a few decades, and policy makers should start planning to build them as a replacement for conventional nuclear power stations, according ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.