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The past few years have witnessed an increasing maturity of the MEMS industry and a rapid introduction of new products addressing applications ranging from biochemical analysis to fiber-optic telecommunications. The market size for MEMS products has doubled in the past 5 years and is projected to grow at this fast rate for the foreseeable future.
The corresponding technology has enjoyed a fast pace of development and has rapidly spread to institutions and companies on all inhabited continents. A search of the keyword MEMS in all granted patents in the United States since 1998 returns nearly 4,000 patents and references. Many devices have left universities to go into commercial development, and several have reached the stage of becoming products.
It is therefore appropriate to extensively revise the text to incorporate advances in the field, new products, as well as suggestions from the readers. As we revised the original text and added substantial new material, we strived to retain the style characteristic of an introductory book intended for a broad audience of scientists, engineers, students, and business executives.
This revised edition continues to assume that the reader has no prior experience in MEMS technology but does possess an understanding of basic scientific concepts equivalent to first-year college physics and chemistry. The objective remained to introduce a select number of representative demonstrators that are now or are soon to be commercially available.
We added many more illustrations and pictures to aid the reader in developing a familiarity with the technology. We also included throughout the text more practical tidbits that are useful to those who wish to apply this technology to their needs.
In this revision, we have expanded on the fabrication processes, adding new methods and materials. The advantages and limitations of many micromachined structures are covered in more detail. We divided the chapter on commercial structures into four chapters, each focusing on a specific application, and then expanded each chapter with appropriate material covering new technical developments and products. Chapter 4 is now specific to automotive and industrial applications, covering traditional products, such as pressure sensors, accelerometers, and yaw-rate sensors, and new emerging products in valving and pumping.
Chapter 5 now covers the applications of MEMS in photonics, including displays, optical sensors, and new products that are now common in fiber-optic telecommunications. The focus of Chapter 6 is on applications in life sciences, with emphasis on new products and developments specific to biochemical analysis and microfluidics.
According to my best recollection, the acronym for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) was officially adopted by a group of about 80 zealots at a crowded meeting in Salt Lake City in 1989 called the Micro Tele-Operated Robotics Workshop. I was there to present an invited paper that claimed MEMS should be used to fabricate resonant structures for the purposes of timekeeping, and I was privileged to be part of this group of visionaries for one and a half exciting days. The proceedings may not be in print any longer. However, I recall that they were given an Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) catalog number of 89TH0249-3. Discussion at the workshop about the name of this new field of research raged for over an hour, and several acronyms were offered, debated, and rejected. When the dust settled, I recall that Professor Roger Howe of the University of California at Berkeley stood up and announced, “Well, then, the name is MEMS.” In this way, the group came to consensus. The research they conducted, unique to any currently being conducted in the United States (or the world for that matter) would hereafter be known as “MEMS.”
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