Can't Get from Micro to Nano without MEMS—a Revolution is Coming!

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Can't Get from Micro to Nano without MEMS—a Revolution is Coming!

Lubab Sheet, Senior Director Emerging Technologies, SEMI, San Jose—Semiconductor International, 6/15/2007

There are a lot of changes in the MEMS industry, from new consumer applications to increasing fabless and foundry companies to the transition to larger wafer sizes, and that is just in the short term. All of these changes are getting the attention of equipment and materials suppliers, investors and entrepreneurs alike. Longer-term, MEMS will be critical to bioelectronics integration—or “More than Moore”—serving as a key interface between the two worlds. “We can’t get from micro to nano without MEMS,” said Warren Packard, managing director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson(Menlo Park, California). “There will be a MEMS revolution.”

MEMS replacing non-silicon devices, finding new applications in consumer electronics

The microphones for mobile telephones and the oscillator or resonators used in a variety of electronics for keeping time are existing applications for non-silicon devices that are currently being replaced by silicon-based MEMS. Both applications represent significant replacement markets today and, as a result, the MEMS companies pioneering these innovations are generating a lot of attention. Many of these companies have adopted a fabless business model too, just designing the MEMS devices and contracting manufacturing to foundries adept at scaling manufacturing processes. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC, Hsinchu, Taiwan) recently announced a strategic incubator project with SVTC Technologies (San Jose, California), the recent Cypress Semiconductor spinout that is offering a novel foundry service to help MEMS and nanotechnology companies scale up their production or “move from the lab to the fab.” If MEMS is attracting TSMC’s attention, it must be for real. Yole Developpement (Lyon, France) estimates that the MEMS foundry market will top $500M in revenues by 2010, up from _$400M today.

Source: Yole Developpement, June 2007.

In addition to these replacement markets, the use of gyroscopes in gaming devices and mobile telephones are new applications for MEMS and several others—particularly in the area of energy scavenging and micro fuel cells—are expected in the next several years. This is attracting a fair number of startups into the MEMS arena, and some of them are actually getting venture backing.

Today, MEMS manufacturers are focused on MEMS devices, but experts believe that one of the driving forces behind the growth in MEMS is that it offers the development of systems, which means more functionality, smaller size and lower costs for consumer electronics. It is also an opportunity to move up the value chain, gaining higher profit margins and bigger markets.

North America continues to dominate MEMS manufacturing—for now.

In addition to the big foundries, all of the major semiconductor makers have MEMS initiatives in place to balance the slowing growth of the chip industry and differentiate their products. With the majority of new semiconductor fab construction in Asia Pacific, it is interesting that just over 50 percent of current MEMS manufacturing capacity is in North America, driven by the two largest MEMS companies, Texas Instruments (Dallas, Texas) and Hewlett Packard (Palo Alto, California).

However, with over 40 state-of-the-art 200 mm memory fabs becoming obsolete in the next few years, this may quickly change. “They’re going to be looking for something to make,” said Bob Johnson, vice president at Gartner Dataquest (Stamford, Connecticut). “Some will sell equipment to China, and some likely move to MEMS.” This corresponds well with the increasing adoption of 200 mm from 150 mm wafer processing occurring in the MEMS industry.

Source: Yole Developpement, June 2007.

If you are interested in learning more about the MEMS companies driving change and the trends in the market, be sure to attend SEMICON West 2007 , July 16-20, 2007, at Moscone Center in San Francisco. The unique focus of the MEMS events at SEMICON West is the emphasis on the commercialization of technologies and a business-to-business environment.

The best and brightest of the MEMS industry will gather to discuss scaling up of MEMS manufacturing, materials issues, emerging applications and successful MEMS business models. Key MEMS fabless companies, manufacturers, foundries, materials suppliers and equipment manufacturers will display their technologies and present their innovations and business strategies. MEMS packaging will be addressed in cooperation with Meptec. Several MEMS standards meetings will also be held, focusing on critical issues to facilitate commercialization. Industry experts and venture capitalists will be on hand, and Jean Christophe Eloy of Yole Developpement will present insights and forecasts on MEMS consumer applications, while Warren Packard will present the long-term view of Draper Fisher Jurvetson for MEMS.

MEMS-Related Exhibitors at SEMICON West 2007 (as of June 5, 2007)*

With _150 exhibitors with MEMS-related offerings, SEMICON West is the largest MEMS exhibition in North America, with 25% exhibiting equipment, 15% launching new products and _10% offering live demonstrations!

* Exhibitor list is updated regularly, so please check SEMICONNECT™ for the latest information.

SEMICON West 2007 MEMS Calendar of Events

Monday, July 16

MEMS Standards meetings, San Francisco Marriott


MEMS Wafer Bonding Task Force Meeting


MEMS Fluidic Interfaces Task Force Meeting


MEMS Packaging Working Group Meeting


MEMS Materials Characterization Task Force Meeting


MEMS Standards Meeting

Tuesday, July 17

Advanced Packaging and MEMS, Assembly, Packaging & Test TechXPOT, West Hall, Level 2
(Session partner: Meptec)


“2017: A BC Perspective on the Future of the MEMS Industry”
Warren Packard, managing director, Draper Fisher Jurvetson


“3D Packaging—Applications, Technology & Infrastructure”
Barry Miles, senior vice president, Amkor


MEMS Packaging

Wednesday, July 18

MEMS Manufacturing & Materials Technologies, Emerging Technologies & Markets TechXPOT, West Hall, Level 2 (Sponsored by SUSS MicroTec)


“Bonding Technologies Provide Solutions Spanning FEOL to BEOL”
Sharon Farrens, chief scientist, Wafer Bonder Division, SUSS MicroTec


“Advances in DRIE for MEMS and Advanced Packaging”
David Mark Haynes, business services director, Surface Technology Systems


“Cost Efficient HVM Process with Wafer Scale NIL”
Babak Heidari, chief technical officer, Obducat AB—TIS Winner


“MEMS Substrates”
Michael Schilling, chief executive officer, Plan Optik AG


“Diamon Substrates for MEMS Devices”
Neil Kane, president, Advanced Diamond Technologies—TIS Winner


“Polymer MEMS, the Thick and Thin of It”
Don W. Johnson, president and chief executive officer, MicroChem


“Inside the Market Leading Accelerometers and Gyroscopes”
Dick James, senior technology advisor, Chipworks

MEMS Applications & Business Models, Emerging Technologies & Markets TechXPOT, West Hall, Level 2 (Sponsored by SVTC Technologies)


“MEMS Markets are Going Consumer”
Jean Christophe Eloy, founder and managing director, Yole Developpement


“Integration Trends in MEMS”
David Monk, MEMS automotive sensor operations manager, Freescale Semiconductor


“New Heart Beats for Electronics—MEMS Oscillators”
Wan-Thai Hsu, chief technical officer, Discera


“MEMS from Process to Qualified Product, Reality Check”
Ariel Cao, director business development, Tronics Microsystems SA


“Enabling High Volumes MEMS Manufacturing”
Bert Bruggerman, vice president of operations and general manager, SVTC Technologies


“Applying Standard Si Manufacturing to Fabricate Microdisplays in Volume”
Wald Siskens, chief executive officer, Spatial Photonics

PTI Short Course, San Francisco Marriott


“Fundamentals of MEMS Design and Fabrication”
(Separate fee is required.)

Agenda is subject to change. For the latest information, visit

Yole Developpement MEMS Market Research Available for SEMI Members in July - FREE

Global MEMS Markets and Opportunities 2007 edition will be available for download to SEMI members at at the end of July for no additional charge to SEMI members. SEMI commissions Yole Developpement to create this 50 page in depth research report for the SEMI membership to serve the need of reliable market information for MEMS applications trends and implications to equipment and materials markets. The report is available to SEMI members for no additional charge.