Trip Report: ASME nEMB 2010 Conference – Part I

Contributed by Karen Lightman, Managing Director, MEMS Industry Group

I am back in Pittsburgh’s snowmageddon after being in sunny Houston to attend the ASME First Global Congress on NanoEngineering for Medicine and Biology (nEMB) held February 7-10, 2010. For those of you who attended MIG’s MEMS Executive Congress 2009, you’ll remember how Dr. Mauro Ferrari wowed the audience with his keynote speech on silicon as a transformational material for medicine. I came to the ASME nEMB conference at the invitation of Dr. Ferrari and his Department of Nanomedicine and Biomedical Engineering (nBME) at the University of Texas at Houston. Continue reading

Thoughts on the MEMS Technology Session at SEMICON Japan 2009

Contributed by Paul Werbaneth, VP Marketing & Applications, Tegal Corporation

Autumn in Japan:

Temple maples blaze

Ginko’s yellow bokeh shade

Miso turnip steams

If you are going to visit Japan after a long (OK, a year) absence, then you should try to combine your niece’s wedding in Kyoto with a visit to the ancient capital, Nara, brilliant late Fall colors, the Cornell Club of Japan American Holiday Dinner, and SEMICON Japan 2009 all in the same trip. Continue reading

Interview with Dr. Mauro Ferrari & New MEMS Education Series BioMEMS Workshop

You might have noticed that there’s been a lot of news coming from MEMS Industry Group™ lately about BioMEMS.  We’re very excited about this field, its opportunities for the MEMS industry, and the improvements to healthcare it will bring.

In case you missed it, MIG recently sat down with Dr. Mauro Ferrari, Professor and Chairman of the Department of NanoMedicine and Biomedical Engineering (nBME) at the University of Texas Health Science Center (and MEMS Executive Congress™ 2009 keynote speaker), to discuss his work in the field. You can read the entire interview as featured in the most recent MIG newsletter here. Dr. Ferrari mentions some amazing technologies like Personal Molecular Drug-delivery Systems (PMDS) and nanoporous silicon — these are really cool examples of how BioMEMS could dramatically improve health and quality of life for all.

If you’re a MIG member and as enthused about BioMEMS as we are, then you should also know about MIG’s newly announced workshop, MEMS Education Series™: Spotlight on BioMEMS and NanoMedicine (March 18, 2010, Houston, TX). Because our members have asked for it, we are offering this one-day executive education workshop at Dr. Ferrari’s nBME center — for MIG members only — focusing on the opportunities for BioMEMS commercialization.

Why wait? Check out www.memseducationseries.com right now for more details on this special opportunity!

Comments on the MEC 2009 MEMS Market Analyst Panel

Contributed by Paul Werbaneth, VP Marketing and Applications, Tegal Corporation

I’m mostly never an early adopter. Very often, I’m a wait-and-see kind of guy when it comes to things like digital cameras, smartphones, booking travel on the internet. Blogging.

But once I get a head of steam up and actually pull the trigger I can become the most enthusiastic of proselytizing converts. (Want to know about my Nikon D40?)

So I’m a little surprised when I hear frequent references Friday morning during the MEMS Market Analyst Panel (Jeremie Bouchaud) to how good the smartphone market is going to continue to be to MEMS, moving forward into 2010.  I guess I’m actually not the last person in the world to buy an iDroidPrePhone (I’m the first in my family to do so, actually).  Of course I won’t be replacing my phone anytime soon, because I’m pretty attached to it now, but there are about 800 million other consumers in line behind me waiting to buy a new, or first, smartphone. And that’s exactly the kind of demand that’s going to fill up the depreciated 8” fabrication lines now being repurposed for MEMS manufacturing.  Not to mention fill lots of 6” MEMS fabs along the way. Continue reading

From the MEMS Investor Journal / MEPTEC MicroPower Workshop

Paul Werbaneth, Vice President Marketing & Applications, Tegal Corporation

From the MEMS Investor Journal / MEPTEC MicroPower Workshop, Thursday 22 October 2009, San Jose, CA:

Hot or cool. Fire or ice. Temperature differentials across a Peltier device.

The 1st Annual MicroPower Workshop, put on by the MEMS Investor Journal (great job Mike Pinelis!) and MEPTEC (great job Bette Cooper!) couldn’t have started stronger, or ended stronger, or been too much better in between.  To start:  Professor Al Pisano, UC Berkeley, speaking on “Multi-Fuel Micro Engines.” Continue reading

MEMS at the Gartner Semiconductor Briefing

Paul Werbaneth, Vice President Marketing & Applications, Tegal Corporation

I was fortunate to catch Jim Tully, VP, Distinguished Analyst, Semiconductor Research, Gartner, speaking on “Emerging Technologies in Semiconductors and Electronics” at the Gartner Semiconductor Briefing held at the Doubletree Hotel in San Jose on Thursday morning, October 15, 2009. (Wonderful breakfast, courtesy of Gartner, by the way, me sitting at random next to the very droll Chanan Greenberg from the company Model N; nothing like wry and dry British humor with your morning kippers.) The key issue for Jim on the (now cleared from breakfast) table: which technologies will drive growth in semiconductors over the next 5 – 10 years?

First, it’s 3D wafer stacking, which climbed and descended the formidable peak of inflated expectations, crossed the difficult trough of disillusionment, and now, with the risen sun steadily evaporating what remains of early dew, can be seen well up the slope of enlightenment, on its way to the plateau of productivity. Is 3D wafer stacking MEMS technology? It’s not a point Jim explicitly makes, but I want to make it for him – without the deep supply chain background of wafer bonding from MEMS, and silicon DRIE from MEMS, 3D wafer stacking would still be looking up at the summit ridge on Mt. Inflapectation, and probably be wanting to poke around one side or the other for easier ways to cross. Thanks to all those fixed routes left by MEMS parties, the best route now is direttissema.

And what else? Jim says there are MEMS mirror-based picoprojectors on his list. The underlying technology must be MEMS fabrication I think, since picoprojectors are a product, at least to me. “Biochips and electronics are merging” Jim says, showing as examples a bird flu Lab-on-chip detector from STMicroelectronics, as well as a scary looking neuron-on-silicon light sensing device from IMEC. MEMS-enabled SmartPills, MEMS-enabled cell phone handset HealthOMeters that sample sweat from a user’s hand and provide up-to-the-minute data on body chemistry and condition (and maybe are encoded to unlock stored-value payment accounts by responding only to the registered user’s DNA – trying cracking that safe Alexander Mundy).

To be sure, Jim thinks “further integration of MEMS, image sensors and wireless technology will open up new application areas in games, microphones and many other areas.”

And how to power these now and future wonders? “Micro fuel cells offer ten times the energy storage of lithium ion batteries. Energy scavenging schemes involve various technologies that convert energy in the environment into electricity. Micro turbines are a micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) technology that would implement a tiny internal combustion engine within a package about the size of a semiconductor chip.”

Jim, you’re a semiconductor guy, but you are most welcome at the MEMS Executive Congress next month. We couldn’t have been any better champions of MEMS commercialization than you were this Thursday at the Gartner Briefing. We’ll be discussing just about everything you identified and like about the MEMS-enabled future when we convene next month in Sonoma. See you there?