Description: The ongoing advances in Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) are providing man-kind the freedom to travel to dimensional spaces never before conceivable. Advances include new fabrication processes, new materials, tailored modeling tools, new fabrication machines, systems integration, and more detailed studies of physics and surface chemistry as applied to the micro scale. In the ten years since its inauguration, MEMS technology is penetrating industries of automobile, healthcare, biotechnology, sports/entertainment, measurement systems, data storage, photonics/optics, computer, aerospace, precision instruments/robotics, and environment monitoring. It is projected that by the turn of the century, MEMS will impact every individual in the industrial world, totaling sales up to $14 billion (source: System Planning Corp.). MEMS programs in major universities have spawned up all over the United States, preparing the brain-power and expertise for the next wave of MEMS breakthroughs. It should be pointed out that although MEMS has been initiated by electrical engineering researchers through the involvement of IC fabrication techniques, today it has evolved such that it requires a totally multi-disciplinary team to develop useful devices. Mechanical engineers are especially crucial to the success of MEMS development, since 90% of the physical realm involved is mechanical. Mechanical engineers are needed for the design of MEMS, the analysis of the mechanical system, the design of testing apparatus, the implementation of analytical tools, and the packaging process. Every single aspect of mechanical engineering is being utilized in the MEMS field today, however, the impact could be more substantial if more mechanical engineers are involved in the systems level designing. In this paper, an attempt is made to create the pathways for a mechanical engineer to enter in the MEMS field. Examples of application in optics and medical devices will be used to illustrate how mechanical engineers made impact. Through a basic understanding of the history of MEMS, ...
Date: November 18, 1996
Creator: Lee, A. P., LLNL
Item Type: Refine your search to only Article
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