Yield and Cost Drive MEMS’ Move to Single-Wafer Processing Whitepaper

Executive Summary

The MEMS market was USD$12.1 billion in 2020; research firm Yole Développement expects this to grow to $18.2 billion in 2026. This growth is fuelled by consumer electronics, the 5GHz band rollout, and medical devices.1 MEMS operate at the heart of the internet of things (IoT) revolution, serving numerous industries from automotive to mobile consumer, surveillance to medical testing, smart lighting to gaming controls. Familiar examples of MEMS include capacitive fingerprint sensors in smartphones, piezoelectric printheads in inkjet printers, and accelerometers that deploy air bags in vehicles.

In many MEMS applications, particularly consumer handheld devices and automotive electronics, MEMS/ICs footprints are shrinking. MEMS that had millimetre or larger critical dimensions 10 years ago are being scaled to the micrometre range. This transformation calls for more advanced fabrication processes, often single-wafer tools that can deposit or etch thinner films and meet more aggressive targets for process uniformity with high yield and repeatability. And because MEMS volumes are typically much smaller than semiconductor volumes, profitability for foundries and fabless firms is more challenging to manage. Having high fabrication yield at each process step in MEMS processes is more critical than ever to the bottom line.

This white paper explores the changing needs of MEMS manufacturing, particularly in a market in which demand for 200mm tools is booming for all microelectronics products. We compare single-wafer to batch processing tools and provide examples of processes that are excellent fits for MEMS fabs.

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