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Posted: April 8, 2010

A*STAR and EDB Launch Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems (MEMS) Consortium

(Nanowerk News) The Institute of Microelectronics (IME), a research institute of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), today announced the launch of the Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems (MEMS) Consortium to bring together 8 MNCs and local enterprises from the MEMS supply chain in public-private sector research collaboration to grow the MEMS industry in Singapore.
The members include: Coventor, Inc., EPCOS PTE LTD (A Group Company of TDK-EPC Corporation), GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Intellisense Software Corp., NEC SCHOTT Components Corporation, Seiko Instruments Inc., Systems on Silicon Manufacturing Company Pte. Ltd. (SSMC) and Tango Systems, Inc.
Together with IME and the Institute of Materials and Research and Engineering (IMRE), the Consortium has a wide spectrum of deep capabilities in research and development, wafer fabrication, integrated device manufacturing (IDM), assembly and test, design and computer-aided design (CAD), and equipment and materials.
Supported by A*STAR and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), the Consortium will establish a technology platform, where they could collaborate on:
a. standardizing the MEMS design, process and packaging for multiple applications, eg, Post-CMOS (Complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) Surface Micromachining MEMS, Bulk micro-machined Silicon on Insulator (SOI) MEMS; and hermetic sealing and wafer level packaging of MEMS devices;
b. developing technical expertise and know-how to facilitate MEMS development, prototyping and manufacturing in Singapore;
c. promoting collaboration among companies for an integrated solution for MEMS Manufacturing; and
d. training manpower in MEMS related technology.
Said Professor Dim-Lee Kwong, Executive Director of IME, “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. This will create opportunities for SMEs to develop the technical know-how, as well as train of a pool of talent for the MEMS supply chain.”
Agreeing, Professor Low Teck Seng, Deputy Managing Director (Research), A*STAR, said, “A*STAR’s science and engineering research institutes have deep expertise in a range of industry-relevant capabilities, for the design, fabrication, packaging and system level integration of MEMS sensors and actuators, which companies in the MEMS industry can readily tap. This technology platform is an example of how A*STAR’s research institutes can engage MNCs and local enterprises through R&D partnerships, technology development efforts, manpower training and outreach efforts.”
Added Dr Lim Khiang Wee, Executive Director of A*STAR’s Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), “An example would be IMRE’s expertise in High Resolution X-ray Diffraction and Atomic Force Microscopy, which will be used to explore the use of thin film aluminium nitride (AlN) materials in piezoelectric transducers that will allow the MEMS devices to work at higher bandwidths and reduce the rate of energy loss.”
Said Mr Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman of A*STAR, "Our local enterprises form a significant portion of our manufacturing sector and they play a major role in supporting the MNCs. It is therefore important to create platforms for the local enterprises to be geared for continued growth by helping them to upgrade their capabilities and keep pace with the rapidly changing technological landscape. 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. The MEMS Consortium will also enable us to cultivate a strong local supplier base that will not only be competitive in Singapore but in the region and beyond.”
MEMS devices, in their very basic form, are miniaturized or micro-scaled versions of electrical and mechanical devices such as pressure sensors, valves, hinged mirrors, gears and cantilevers. They are manufactured by techniques similar to that used for manufacturing semiconductor devices. The use of MEMS is pervasive. Some examples of where they are used include accelerometer, inkjet heads, micro-mirrors, microphones, gyroscopes, flow sensors, game consoles, projectors, hard-disks, blood pressure monitors, barcode scanners and automotive applications.
Said Mr Damian Chan, Director (Electronics) of EDB, “MEMS is a rapidly growing area, driven by many new applications in biomedical, wireless communication and consumer electronics. As such, this collaboration is a unique opportunity for global players to leverage on each other’s unique expertise, to help spur the electronics sector in Singapore.” Globally, the MEMS device market, worth USD 6.9 billion in 2009, is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12% from now till 20141.
The launch of the MEMS consortium adds on to the growing list of industry consortia spearheaded by A*STAR. These include the 3-Dimensional Through-Silicon Via Consortium, which brings together 18 MNCs, local SMEs with A*STAR RIs to boost next-generation wafer manufacturing capability, and the SERC Aerospace Programme, which is 18-member aerospace industry consortia working with A*STAR RIs on pre-competitive R&D.
Source: A*STAR (press release)
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