Silicon Wafer Manufacturers | Common Elements Used in MEMS Manufacturing


September 12, 2019

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Silicon wafer manufacturers aim to produce high-quality wafers for different electronic device systems and applications, like integrated circuits, MEMS, and more. MEMS stands for Micro Electro Mechanical Systems. It is the technology behind miniaturized mechanical and electro-mechanical elements, devices, and structures. MEMS manufacturing developed from the process of technology in semiconductor device manufacturing, and it utilizes various elements and materials to suit different applications. Here are the common elements used in MEMS manufacturing:


Silicon is one of the most popular elements used by silicon wafer manufacturers. It is widely used for integrated circuits found in consumer electronics, like TVs, cellphone, laptops, and more. Silicon’s economies of scale, abundance, accessibility, quality, affordability, and its ability to fuse electronic functionality makes it desirable for a wide variety of MEMS applications. Silicon is also very reliable to use. It experiences little to no fatigue, which means that it can be used up to a trillion times without breaking. Applications include silicon-based semiconductor nanostructures, silicon nanowires, nanowire batteries, and photovoltaic systems.


Sometimes, manufacturers prefer to use polymer over silicon because of how it can be produced in great volumes at a much lower cost. It can also be produced with a wide variety of material properties. Polymers are made into MEMS through stereolithography, embossing, and molding. It’s best used for microfluidic applications, like disposable blood testing cartridges.


Metals, like silver, platinum, copper, aluminum, nickel, and gold, are also utilized to produce MEMS elements. When used within their limits, metals are highly reliable. Metals can be deposited through sputtering, evaporation, and electroplating processes.


Due to the advantageous combinations of material properties of ceramics, it is increasingly used in MEMS manufacturing. Example, TiN shows high electrical conductivity and immense elastic modulus, making it viable to carry out electrostatic MEMS actuation schemes using ultrathin membranes. It also has high resistance against biocorrosion, which makes it suitable for biogenic environments and in biosensor applications.

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