This is just an Excerpt from a larger document, click here to view the entire document.Introduction
MicroElectroMechanical Systems, or MEMS, represent an extraordinary technology that promises to transform whole industries and drive the next technological revolution. These devices can replace bulky actuators and sensors with micronscale equivalents that can be produced in large quantities by fabrication processes used in integrated circuit photolithography. This reduces cost, bulk, weight and power consumption while increasing performance, production volume, and functionality by orders of magnitude. For example, one wellknown MEMS device is the accelerometer for a car airbag – a $3 chip that replaced a system of conventional mechanical sensors costing over $80.
Furthermore, it is clear that current MEMS products are simply precursors to greater and more pervasive applications to come, including genetic and disease testing, guidance and navigation systems, power generation, RF devices (especially for cell phone technology), weapons systems, biological and chemical agent detection, and data storage. Micromirrorbased optical switches have already proven their value; several start-up companies specializing in their development have already been sold to large network companies for hundreds of millions of dollars. The promise of MEMS is increasingly capturing the attention of new and old industries alike, as more and more of their challenges are solved with MEMS. A linear, 24-bit locking mechanism. Courtesy, Sandia National Labs - MEMS, S&T Department, www.mems.sandia.gov.