"Imagine a machine so small that it is imperceptible to the human eye. Imagine working machines with gears no bigger than a grain of pollen. Imagine these machines being batch fabricated tens of thousand at a time, at a cost of only a few pennies each. Imagine a realm where the world of design is turned upside down, and the seemingly impossible suddenly becomes easy. A place where gravity and inertia are no longer important, but the effects of atomic forces and surface science dominate. Welcome to the microdomain, a world now occupied by an explosive new technology known as MEMS (Micro-electromechanical Systems) or, more simply, micro-machines.

"MEMS is the next logical step in the silicon revolution. The silicon revolution began over three decades ago, with the introduction of the first integrated circuit. The integrated circuit has changed virtually every aspect of our lives. The hallmark of the integrated circuit industry over the past three decades has been the exponential increase in the number of transistors incorporated onto a single piece of silicon. This rapid advance in the number of transistors per chip leads to integrated circuits with continuously increasing capability and performance. As time has progressed, large, expensive, complex systems have been replaced by small, high performance, inexpensive integrated circuits.

"While the growth in the functionality of microelectronic circuits has been truly phenomenal; for the most part this growth has been limited to the processing power of the chip. We believe that the next step in the silicon revolution will be different, and more important than simply packing more transistors onto the silicon. We believe that the hallmark of the next thirty years of the silicon revolution will be the incorporation of new types of functionality onto the chip; structures that will enable the chip to not only think, but to sense, act and communicate as well. This revolution will be enabled by MEMS.

"MEMS is a relatively new technology which exploits the existing microelectronics infrastructure to create complex machines with micron feature sizes. These machines can have many functions, including sensing, communication and actuation."

Reprinted with the permission from Sandia National Laboratories. [Note: The whole text is not included here but can be found on their web site:]

REM has performed research in the area of MEMS. We have helped one company on its way to launching a new product for manufacturing MEMS devices, a new Focused Ion Beam. We would welcome the opportunity to work with you in your new product.

Here are some great MEMS links
The home page for Cronos Microelectronic Systems, formerly MCNC
Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center
Other WWW Servers related to the MEMS field
The MEMS Electronic Discussion Group
The MEMS Clearing House; "Your Expert Source for MicroElectroMechanical Systems, Information, and Discussion"
Integrated Sensing Systems; research, design and manufacturing of micromachined silicon devices (MEMS), and high performance sensing systems (a commercial company)
Sean Morgan's Nanotechnology Pages

Norsam Technologies, Inc.

Focused ion beams (FIBs) are a resource for failure analysis, repairing defects, and fabrication of semiconductor devices and many types of MEMS devices. Independent FIB labs are getting into the act of providing a resource for these functions. One such lab is the Norsam FIB lab in Hillsboro, OR. More information can be obtained by visiting the Norsam website at REM is an agent for Norsam.

Fresnel Lens This is a fresnel lens fabricated on one of Norsam's FIBs. The thickness of each ring is approximately 200nm. The company is working in data archival, semiconductor failure analysis, gem stone marking, and many other applications.