Monolithic integration of MEMS processing technology with standard CMOS processes enables the combination of novel sensing and actuation functionality on traditional computing and communication devices allowing the ubiquitous digital computer to interact with the world around it. Paralleling the rest of the semiconductor industry, this integration requires both the ability for rapid custom design for low cost prototyping and design optimzation for high volume manufacturing. In this project, we are creating the design, fabrication and characterization support for achieving this goal.
Potential devices to be designed and fabricated in the process include accelerometers, gyroscopes, radio frequency (RF) MEMS communication systems (with resonator oscillators, RF filters and high-Q inductors), infrared sensors and imagers, electrothermal converters, and force sensors. In additional to individual devices, the technology enables integration of multiple devices on the same chip with supporting electronics. For example, high-Q inductors and micromechanical resonators can be combined for CMOS RF applications. In another example, multiple accelerometers are integrated on chip to create a 3-axis inertial measurement system. Furthermore, both the communications and accelerometer systems can be combined to form a wireless microsensor system. Such a system is primarily driven by low-volume applications and will not be commercially viable if manufactured in today's specialized MEMS processes. Realization of these kinds of systems is within reach of the CMOS micromachining technology and through ASIMPS, reduces to a problem of design effort and end-application know-how, not of process development.