MEMS Market in Position to Take Another Leap Ahead


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MEMS Market in Position to Take Another Leap Ahead

On the Extreme Electronics stage at SEMICON West, MEMS industry players will explore the considerable potential for MEMS, particularly in the consumer market, and the best ways to take advantage of the opportunities.

by Aaron Hand

With the semiconductor market’s ongoing cyclicality, chipmakers and their suppliers continue to look to emerging opportunities to diversify their technology portfolios. A few years ago, device makers and equipment and material suppliers began rushing into the photovoltaics sector, with its promise of skyrocketing markets. Now, many are looking at light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Even earlier than either of these, though, microelectrical mechanical systems (MEMS) were identified as a growth area.

The market for MEMS has already been growing well for the past 10 years, but, according to French market research firm Yole Développement, it is about to see another surge as the sector industrializes a series of new devices. The researchers expect the $7B MEMS market to pick up by the second half of this year and see a 14 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through the next four years.

Yole Développement’s founder and CEO Jean-Christophe Eloy will detail the MEMS market perspective during an Extreme Electronics session at SEMICON West. The Extreme Electronics technology stage in the South Hall will feature mini-conferences on MEMS, high-brightness LEDs, and flexible and printed electronics.

The past 10 years of MEMS growth to very high volumes has also seen the establishment of a solid production infrastructure, including foundries and suppliers, according to Eloy. New applications for MEMS include thermal imagers, micro-speakers, digital compasses, energy harvesting devices, and more. The trend is toward simplifying the use of MEMS, without years of development. Eloy will update the audience on the MEMS market, including an analysis of the business and manufacturing trends during his speech at the “Opportunities in MEMS” session.

Three MEMS manufacturers – STMicroelectronics, InvenSense and Hewlett-Packard Laboratories – will present a closer look at their MEMS efforts and the markets they serve, demonstrating how the availability of high-performance MEMS devices at affordable prices has pushed market growth.

Jay Esfandyari, MEMS market development manager at STMicroelectronics, will look at the future of MEMS sensors, including MEMS accelerometers, which are enabling a wide variety of applications. MEMS accelerometers are being implemented into cell phones and other consumer applications at an amazing rate, according to Esfandyari, who points to exciting applications in user interfaces, gaming, image stabilization, electronic compasses, personal navigation and dead reckoning, and context awareness.

The high-volume, cost-driven consumer market presents considerable potential for MEMS volume and revenue growth, according to Steve Nasiri, founder, chairman and CEO of InvenSense, which is active in that market. Nasiri’s talk will focus on the ability to bring innovative MEMS products directly to the consumer market much more quickly, bypassing the 25-year maturity route products have typically taken through industrial or biomedical routes.

Peter Hartwell, senior researcher at Hewlett-Packard Labs, will give a presentation on next-generation MEMS inertial sensors. He will focus on why MEMS inertial sensors have failed to live up to their initial promise, and will talk about a different MEMS manufacturing approach relying on technology advances in nanofabrication techniques.

A panel discussion moderated by Karen Lightman, managing director of the MEMS Industry Group (MIG), will talk further about optimizing manufacturing for future MEMS growth.

InvenSense advocates bringing MEMS technologies to the high-potential consumer market more quickly. (Source: InvenSense)

 
 

Opportunities in MEMS: Growing the Market With New Applications, Integrated Functions, and Faster Time to Volume will take place July 13, 10:30am-12:30pm on the Extreme Electronics stage in South Hall. Also related to MEMS will be another session the same day and location at 2:00pm-4:30pm, Micro Manufacturing for Micro Energy Systems: Progress in Energy Harvesting, Storage and Low-Power Systems Technology for Wireless Sensor Networks.