MEMS, or “MicroElectroMechanicalSystems” – deals with tiny circuits that are etched by the thousand on silicon wafers. They are used in mobile telephones, microphones and cars, foe example in sensors in airbags and tyres.
At present, inspecting these systems is a production bottleneck because they must be tested one at a time, which is a time-consuming and expensive process.
The EU’s SMARTIEHS (SMART InspEction systems for High Speed and multifunctional testing of MEMS and MOEMS) is developing a new test concept based on parallel inspection of these circuits at wafer level. Testing a hundred units at once reduces the time required from 20 minutes to less than 30 seconds. Not only is this cheaper, but several more functions can be tested simultaneously.
SINTEF is coordinating this project, in which eight European micro-optics heavyweights are participating. They are now at the halfway point in the project.
“It was the industry itself that was looking for better and cheaper methods,” says Kay Gastinger of SINTEF ICT, who is coordinating the project.
“Today, tyre pressure sensors are only electrically tested during production, and theses tests do not guarantee full functionality. The research being performed by SMARTIEHS will mean cheaper sensors and more reliable equipment.
Detects deformations and faults
The research team uses an array of interferometers that can identify an object’s shape, changes in shape and vibration extremely accurately. Standard microprocessor techniques are used to manufactures interferometers, making them cost-effective.
The underlying idea of the project is to produce a specially designed glass wafer that contains as many as 100 interferometers and then use this last to test 100 circuits on a MEMS wafer at one go. The scientists will be able to measure the shape, deformation and resonant frequency of the MEMS chips and thus identify manufacturing faults.
“We have already produced a prototype measurement station that is capable of measuring five chips at a time,” says Gastinger. The prototype consists of three wafers; the lens wafer, mirror wafer and beam-splitter wafer. The top layer contains 25 tiny lenses, which in principle resemble little microscopes and have an imaging function. Micromirrors at the centre of the lenses produce the interference effect.
The research teams are currently at the halfway stage in the project, which will come to an end in 2011, by which time the demonstrator will have been expanded to 50 channels, and the design will enable this number to be easily increased to 100.
Aase Dragland | alfa
Did you know that the wrapping of Easter eggs benefits from specialty light sources?
13.04.2017 | Heraeus Noblelight GmbH
To e-, or not to e-, the question for the exotic 'Si-III' phase of silicon
05.04.2017 | Carnegie Institution for Science
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences