Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) is an enabling technology harnessing the benefits of miniaturization in physical domains beyond the electrical and found in billions of devices today. The field of MEMS encompasses tiny (generally chip-scale) devices or systems capable of realizing functions not easily achievable via macroscopic ones. Some useful functions that have benefitted from MEMS-enabled miniaturization include:
- Sensing of various parameters that include physical, chemical, and biological variables.
- Control of physical variables.
- Generation and/or delivery of useful physical quantities.
MEMS design and technology fundamentally offer the benefits of scaling across multiple domains including
- Faster speed, as manifested by higher mechanical resonance frequencies, faster thermal time constants, etc., as dimensions are scaled.
- Lower power or energy consumption, as manifested by the smaller forces required to move tiny mechanical elements, or the smaller thermal capacities and higher thermal isolations achievable that lead to much smaller power consumptions required to maintain certain temperatures.
- Higher functional complexity via integration across different domains, in that integrated circuits of mechanical links and resonators, fluidic channels and mixers, movable mirrors and gratings, etc., now become feasible with MEMS technology.
Many IEEE organizational units already benefit from MEMS, as the utility of its fundamental concepts and technology touches nearly all IEEE field of interest areas.