April 9, 2010- A group of eight global companies, supported by local research and government, have formed a consortium to facilitate and grow Singapore’s expertise in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS).
The efforts, supported by the Institute of Microelectronics (IME) research arm of Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), aims to establish a technology platform with several goals:
- standardize MEMS design, process, and packaging for multiple applications — e.g., post-CMOS surface micromachining, bulk micro-machined silicon-on-insulator [SOI], and hermetic sealing and wafer-level packaging;
- develop technical expertise and know-how to facilitate MEMS development, prototyping and manufacturing in Singapore;
- promote collaboration among companies for an integrated solution for MEMS manufacturing; and
- create a skilled workforce in MEMS related technology.
A*STAR’s contributions to the consortium’s work will be offering its R&D expertise in relevant areas, from design, fabrication, packaging, and system-level integration of MEMS sensors and actuators. As an example, high-resolution X-ray diffraction and AFM capabilities at A*STAR’s Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) will be used to explore thin-film aluminium nitride (AlN) materials in piezoelectric transducers to enable MEMS devices with higher bandwidths and reduced energy loss," according to IMRE executive director Lim Khiang Wee.
Local companies represent a significant part of Singapore’s manufacturing sector and support the bigger multinational corporations, so it’s important to support those SMEs by helping them upgrade capabilities and keep up with technical advancements, added Lim Chuan Poh, A*STAR chairman. "The MEMS Consortium is an excellent way for our local enterprises to be linked up with the MNCs as part of an industry cluster approach to develop research and innovation activities in a synergistic way," and also will help "cultivate a strong local supplier base that will not only be competitive in Singapore but in the region and beyond."
"Through the MEMS Consortium, we are able to bring MNCs and local SMEs together on the same technology platform to facilitate interaction and foster research collaboration," added prof. Dim-Lee Kwong, executive director of IME.
Consortium members collectively span a wide range of capabilities in MEMS: R&D, wafer fabrication and integrated device manufacturing (IDM), assembly/test, design, and equipment materials. Members include Coventor, EPCOS, GlobalFoundries, Intellisense Software, NEC SCHOTT Components, Seiko Instruments, Systems on Silicon Manufacturing (SSMC), and Tango Systems.