The satellite industry could experience its biggest revolution since it joined the ranks of commerce, thanks to some of the smallest machines in existence.
Researchers are performing experiments designed to convince the aerospace industry that microelectromechanical systems MEMS could open the door to low-cost, high-reliability, mass-produced satellites. MEMS combine conventional semiconductor electronics with beams, gears, levers, switches, accelerometers, diaphragms, microfluidic thrusters, and heat controllers, all of them microscopic in size.
Microelectromechanical Systems, or MEMS, are integrated micro devices or systems combining electrical and mechanical components.
They are fabricated using integrated circuit IC batch processing techniques and can range in size from micrometers to millimeters. These systems can sense, control and actuate on the micro scale, and function individually or in arrays to generate effects on the macro scale.
MEMS is an enabling technology and current applications include accelerometers, pressure, chemical and flow sensors, micro-optics, optical scanners, and fluid pumps. Generally a satellite consists of battery, internal state sensors, communication systems and control units. All these can be made of MEMS so that size and cost can be considerably reduced.
Also small satellites can be constructed by stacking wafers covered with MEMS and electronics components. These satellites are called 'I' Kg class satellites or Picosats.
These satellites having high resistance to radiation and vibration compared to conventional devices can be mass-produced there by reducing the cost. These can be used for various space applications.
These satellites are called 'I' Kg. Instead, MEMS is a manufacturing technology; a new way of making complex electromechanical systems using batch fabrication techniques similar to the way integrated circuits are made and making these electromechanical elements along with electronics.
Introduction to MEMS "Micro-Electro-Mechanical System"
Silicon possesses excellent materials properties making it an attractive choice for many high-performance mechanical applications e. Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems MEMS is the integration of mechanical elements, sensors, actuators, and electronics on a common silicon substrate through the utilization of micro fabrication technology.
MEMS is truly an enabling technology allowing the development of smart products by augmenting the computational ability of microelectronics with he perception and control capabilities of micro sensors and micro actuators.
Microelectronic integrated circuits ICs can be thought of as the "brains" of systems and MEMS augments this decision-making capability with "eyes" and "arms", to allow micro systems to sense and control the environment. MEMS are usually divided into two categories -- those devices that detect information, called micro sensors, and those devices that can respond to information, or act, called actuators.
Micro sensors gather local information including, for example, thermal, biological, chemical, and optical input. The electronics of the devices can then process the information and may direct actuators to respond and control the environment e.
The electronics parts are fabricated using integrated circuit IC process sequences e.
The design process of MEMS starts with the fabricator, who gives the original concept of the device to the designer, i. The designer will then translate the requirements into circuit design, i.
In fabricating a specific circuit or a class of circuits a set of patterns are sequentially transferred onto silicon. Each pattern is called a mask and could represent either a pattern of desired impurity to be introduced into the silicon wafer or layer to be deposited on to, grown on, or removed from the wafer.
The technological step carried out for lithography, i. The process sequence usually requires several masks and that a single silicon wafer is designed to contain several repeated patterns. During wafer processing several wafers are processed simultaneously, i. Each batch of wafers is called a lot.
Micro-electro Mechanical Systems
Each wafer consists of hundreds of identical circuits called die, which is separated from each other by silicon paths called scribe tracks, which is chosen along cleavage planes of silicon. The dice are separated and individual chips are obtained. Micro-electro Mechanical Systems Published on Jan 07, Are you interested in this topic. Then mail to us immediately to get the full report.