The advent of Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) has changed the way that the world views and uses gadgets. Best known to the majority of consumers as the technology that makes Wii’s work and iPads flip, these microscopic works of modern microelectronics fabrication have introduced the power of motion to a new generation of powerful and responsive high-tech devices.
Thanks to the ability MEMS have to incorporate both moving parts and fixed circuitry into micro devices, a wealth of opportunities to develop new sensor and actuator driven systems has arisen. With possibilities now on the table to develop solutions that would have been impossible using traditional silicon chips or any other technology, interest is growing in multiple sectors from aerospace and healthcare to renewables and consumer electronics.
ISLI identified a need to establish an achievable development process designed to assist companies and entrepreneurs take their first steps towards creating a new wave of engineering solutions. ISLI has
been working with foundry supplier, Semefab, to make this a reality. Following enquiries from the world of motorsport around the possibilities for a highly compact device capable of recording critical information about what happens to drivers during high-speed collisions, ISLI would set out to design a device to meet this challenge, whilst simultaneously demonstrating the capability of the brand new SemeMEMS process.
In the face of accelerating demand, ISLI devised and set up the iDesign initiative to give businesses the highly specialised support they need to take advantage of the MEMS revolution. An open access service designed to provide expertise in design, analysis and creation of silicon MEMS, it provides organisations and individuals with a single point of contact and serves as a reputable gateway to an array of potential development routes and partners.
By teaming up with foundries, including SemeMEMS – the open access foundry facility delivered by Semefab, ISLI now provides an end-to end development and support service to develop silicon MEMS devices with or without monolithically integrated CMOS circuitry. Irrespective of the stage of your organisation’s growth and serving many key sectors, our specialist team are equipped to provide the answers you need to move your MEMS project forward.
In pursuit of the target of developing highly compact data collection and monitoring devices, ISLI drew upon these resources to begin developing a MEMS three-axis accelerometer so small it could be fitted
in a racing driver’s ear. Measuring less than 3mm x 3mm, this highly complex chip was capable of not only measuring the multitude of movements performed during races, but could also accurately record acceleration in a range not available anywhere on the market.
The combined capabilities offered by ISLI’s services have seen the iDesign team assist with the conceptualisation, design and realisation of multiple MEMS based systems including the development
of a new breed of highly reliable, extremely sensitive and low cost sensor system that is already being considered for use in multiple industries from power generation to aviation safety.
Working in collaboration with Semefab, ISLI has developed a CMOS-MEMS foundry platform for the development of future devices. Delivering lower risk, swifter and more straightforward development
roadmaps, a strategy of constant redevelopment will see additional resources added to the platform beyond the end of the initial project.
The first release of a design-kit – including all the critical elements required in MEMS designs – has already been used in several projects and continues to be developed. Once complete this kit will facilitate
a simplified and more cost effective design process, providing third parties an easy and low-risk access to MEMS creation and prototyping.
Following the success of our motor racing prototype, ISLI also now has a generic MEMS device ready for adaption to multiple scenarios. Less than 3mm in size yet compatible with all the latest packaging
techniques, the technology is now available as a platform to help companies develop their own solutions in a faster, more cost-effective manner.