PARIS The MEMS sector is expected to stay flat for the next year or so. There is, however, room for innovation for inertial MEMS, RF switches, energy harvesting and micromirrors, according to French market research consultancy Yole Développement.
In its latest report, entitled "World MEMS Equipment & Materials Market 2009", Yole Développement (Lyon, France) observed that the MEMS production tool market will be flat in 2009-2010. MEMS equipment R&D, however, remains active with players getting ready for a ramp-up in 2011. By 2012, the MEMS equipment market is indeed set to reach $500 million.
Describing trends in MEMS manufacturing, Yole noted that it has long been assumed that the MEMS production rule was "One product, one process, one package" and highlighted that European foundries and R&D institutes now argue that standard process modules are possible for MEMS production.
Silex is leading the way, noted Yole. Inspired by its through-wafer via and WLP platform, Silex reckons that the more a fabs' customer can use identical process blocks, modules or platforms, the better the process control and yield and the lower the costs. CEA-Leti is another player with its standard processes on 8-inch wafers for R&D fabs.
Among other examples of modules are TSV, WL packaging, hermetic bonding or Si membrane.
"3D integration with TSV is now an industrial reality with continuous growth expected," stated Dr. Eric Mounier, project manager at Yole Développement. "3D Integration with TSV for MEMS is likely to be the next relay of growth for DRIE market and 3D TSV is pushing the need for quicker etch rate, towards the 100µ/ min."
Moving to market metrics, Yole said it expects materials for MEMS to be a $470 million market in 2012.
As for wafer sizes, Yole said it observed a transition from 6- to 8-inch wafer size for companies involved in high volume MEMS applications. Thick SOI (0.2 to 60µ) is used for sacrificial release, and there is a trend for thicker BOX (>5µ) for MEMS devices requiring higher deflection such as micromirrors or some gyros.