Today MEMS is common acronym among engineers. Therm MEMS stands for micro-electro-mechanical system and was started to use in 1980sin USA. MEMS are called system because they are not only sensors bu also contain electronic circuitry inside which conditions sensor signal. Simply speaking MEMS is usually a chip device which integrates mechanical elements, sensors, actuators and electronics. Most interesting and important partis mechanical. Miniaturisation of mechanical part using micro-machining technologu when selectively parts are etched away, it became possible to create mechanical structures on silicon base together with electronic devices.
MEMS devices are used everywhere today including automotive, industrial even computer hard drives have MEMS sensors for shock protection. Ability to integrate mechanical sensors inside chip made possible to design compact accelerometers, gyroscopes, pressure sensors, sensors with integrated RF, and meny more. Also technology enables to integrate more than one sensor inside the chip. One of examples may be 3-axis accelerometers. Major producer of inertial MEMS is Analog Devices which produces accelerometers and gyroscopes.
Todays cars cant be imagined without dozens of MEMS devices. Thanks to them airbag systems can save many lives. Micro-mechanical mirror systems cannot be imagined in optical communications.
Today a lot of research is being done on MEMS motors.
Imagine 100nm motor which drives micro optics in optical switching devices, micro or even nano robots delivering medicine to pain area and unloading it with micro-pumps.
MEMS are shrinking to smaller and smaller sizes from micro to nano scale. So there is a new therm emerging – â€œMano-electro-mechanicalâ€ Systems so called NEMS. NEMS technology or simply speaking nanotechnology operates in molecular and atomic level. Most interesting area today is self assembly or mimic molecular systems.