By Michael Fury, Director and senior technology analyst, Techcet Group
For Solid State Technology
The 10th Annual MEMS Technology Symposium sponsored by MEPTEC (MicroElectronics Packaging and Test Engineering Council) was held May 23 at the San Jose Holiday Inn. This year’s theme was “Sensors: A Foundation for Accelerated MEMS Market Growth to $1 Trillion.” Registered attendance was ~230.
The conference opened with a keynote address by Prof. Kristofer Pister, UC Berkeley speaking on sensory swarms. Inexpensive, wireless sensor networks have moved out of the lab and are being implemented in myriad applications. A refinery in Richmond, CA has methane gas sensors at every valve to monitor emissions. Parking spaces in San Francisco and Hollywood are tagged with car sensors to provide dynamic signage directing drivers to open spaces; this system also communicates with a smart phone app (“Parker”) to take you to specific open spaces. Rail cars have temperature and vibration sensors on every truck for predictive and preventive maintenance. Wireless sensors in the field are projected to top 1.1 billion units by 2015, up from 168 million units in 2010.
by Stephen Breit, V.P. Engineering, Coventor, Inc.
MEMS integration means different things to different audiences. To pioneers in the MEMS industry, integration may imply a monolithic fabrication process, in which the MEMS and accompanying CMOS electronics are fabricated on the same die. As suppliers of MEMS design automation software to the MEMS industry, Coventor sees integration more broadly as the work of combining MEMS with CMOS electronics, whether in a monolithic process, as separate die in the same package, or even in separate packages. And integration encompasses packaging effects on the MEMS as well. The electronics are analog/mixed-signal (A/MS) circuits that provide electrical input to the MEMS and perform A/D conversion on its output. Such circuits are designed and simulated at a high level of abstraction with MATLAB and Simulink, and at lower levels of abstraction with EDA software such as the Cadence Virtuoso suite. MEMS designers, therefore, must deliver models of their designs that are compatible with the tools of choice for electronics design. Coventor has been focusing on addressing this integration challenge for a number of years.
By Stephen Breit, Coventor, Inc.
As MEMS component suppliers compete to offer more functionality in their components, companies will be driven to adopt a MEMS design-automation platform that can most efficiently integrate multiple technologies.
MEMS integration means different things to different audiences. To pioneers in the MEMS industry, integration may imply a monolithic fabrication process, in which the MEMS and accompanying CMOS electronics are fabricated on the same die. MEMS design automation software suppliers have a broader view of integration, one the includes combining MEMS with CMOS electronics, whether in a monolithic process, as separate die in the same package, or even in separate packages. And integration encompasses packaging effects on the MEMS as well. The electronics are analog/mixed-signal (A/MS) circuits that provide electrical input to the MEMS and perform A/D conversion on its output. Such circuits are designed and simulated at a high level of abstraction with tools such as MATLAB and Simulink, and at lower levels of abstraction with EDA software such as the Cadence Virtuoso suite. MEMS designers, therefore, must deliver models of their designs that are compatible with the tools of choice for electronics design. The integration challenge is a major focus throughout the MEMS ecosystem.
Coventor’s Stephen Breit will be one of the featured speakers at the upcoming MEPTEC MEMS Technology Symposium. Dr. Breit, who is V.P. of Engineering at Coventor, will speak about realizing the full potential of MEMS design automation software. It’s a topic he knows quite a bit about as he has headed up the research and development of Coventor’s market-leading MEMS design software solutions for the past 15 years. Steve will draw upon that experience to make the case for engineers to use increased software-based automation and simulation tools in order to reduce time-consuming and costly build-and-test cycles.
The tenth annual MEMS Technology Symposium is being held in San Jose, California on May 23, 2012. To celebrate a decade of success, this year’s discussions will be focused on how to jumpstart the next decade with a bold prediction: to grow the MEMS market to $1 trillion USD. read more…
– Trip report from SEMICON MEMS Forum in Singapore by Tom Flynn, Vice President of Sales and Business Development at Coventor
It was an honor to participate in the MEMS Forum sponsored by SEMI and A-Star Institute of Microelectronics. Coventor had the pleasure of sharing the stage with founding members of innovative MEMS start-up companies, CEO’s of successful MEMS corporations, R&D veterans whose perspective spans decades, and leading figures from large scale commercial foundries and specialized equipment vendors.
Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.
The most common theme among the participants was the value of time and the need to bring new MEMS devices to market within timeframes that are vastly different from the past. Many of the speakers referred to industry growth charts which highlighted the impact of consumer adoption of MEMS and the changes that has brought to our industry.
Mr. Gregory Galvin, CEO of Kionix, reminded us that the adoption of MEMS in consumer markets is relatively new. “It was IBM Thinkpad’s, in 2003, that first included MEMS devices for drop detection” (to protect the hard drives). Seagate, Samsung, the Nintendo (with its groundbreaking Wii) and the Apple iPhone all followed, ushering in a new era for MEMS, an era when time to market has become critical.” When asked about the value of time to market, Mr. Galvin, answered that “I have that conversation (time to market) daily with my CTO”. He added that “while the technical challenges are great, the challenges associated with making money in MEMS are even more difficult”.
Revenue growth for MEMS is expected to be nothing short of explosive according to industry analysts and recent press reports. Jérémie Bouchaud, director and principal MEMS and sensors analyst for IHS says that this growth is driven by the fact that new MEMS are at the heart of today’s most exciting and fast-growing electronic products, from motion controlled video games, to tablet navigation systems, to tiny projectors embedded in smart phones. He predicts that by 2014, new MEMS will generate revenue of $1.4 billion.
By Bryon Moyer
Back when discussion CMOS-compatible MEMS, I briefly mentioned a couple tools from Coventor that are used in MEMS design. But one of them actually has use for any semiconductor process. You might think it’s another TCAD tool, but actually, it isn’t. read more…
By Colin Johnson
Electronic Engineering Times
Reaching the advanced semiconductor process nodes at 22-nanometer and beyond requires accurate three-dimensional (3-D) models of the proposed physical structures to obviate the need for repeated trial-and-error design cycles. In fact, the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors has designated modeling 3D physical structures as a “grand challenge” at advanced processing nodes.