Micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS)
Christenson, Todd R. Sandia National Laboratories, Albequerque, New Mexico.
- Microfabrication technology
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Systems that couple micromechanisms with microelectronics. Such systems are also referred to as microsystems, and the coupling of micromechanisms with microelectronics is also termed micromechatronics. Micromechanics refers to the design and fabrication of micromechanisms that predominantly involve mechanical components with submillimeter dimensions and corresponding tolerances of the order of 1 micrometer or less. The types of systems encompassed by MEMS represent the need for transducers that act between signal and information processing functions, on the one hand, and the mechanical world, on the other. This coupling of a number of engineering areas leads to a highly interdisciplinary field that is commensurately impacting nearly all branches of science and technology in fields such as biology and medicine, telecommunications, automotive engineering, and defense. Ultimately, realization of a “smart” MEMS may be desired for certain applications whereby information processing tasks are integrated with transduction tasks, yielding a device that can autonomously sense and accordingly react to the environment. See also: Transducer
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