MEMS broadens its horizons: emerging drivers & applications

The continued steady growth in the MEMS market overall masks wide variation across the industry’s changing sectors, according to speakers presenting at SEMICON West in July.

The next big driver of MEMS growth will likely come from the next mechanical product to be successfully miniaturized on silicon, such as happened with gyroscopes and microphones, suggests Eloy. The most likely candidates poised for conversion ? gas and optical sensors.

Smaller, lower cost MEMS gas sensors will likely be adopted by HVAC systems to monitor indoor air quality for building automation in the next two years.  MEMS and SiP integration also will likely disrupt optical detection technology soon, bringing down cost and size, he contends.

Other emerging non-MEMS sensors, from radar and lidar in cars to image sensors in drones, will all need integration often with MEMS devices such as inertial sensors for stabilization and control, or with MEMS-like packaging technology.  Initially systems makers will buy discrete components, but designing better integrated sensor modules will drive closer collaboration with MEMS suppliers, and ultimately add to acquisition pressure. 

“There will be a big change as MEMS companies move out of the business of supplying MEMS, and into the business of integrating sensor functions,” suggests Eloy…

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