ESA on path to reliable MEMS in Space
11/15/2011 11:04 AM EST
MANHASSET, NY -- The European Space Agency is funding a project to develop new methods for packaging and testing micro-electromechanical systems to meet performance requirements of space missions.
Reliability is a major issue for MEMS in space applications, and establishing new, proven and reliable packaging concepts can dramatically extend the lifetime of MEMS devices and therefore expand their suitability for space missions, according to the alliance.
The Heterogeneous Technology Alliance (HTA) involves a team of leading European technology institutes and is part of the ongoing Wafer-Level Encapsulation in Microsystems (WALES) project.
HTA members are studying how wafer-level packaging (WLP) can be used to connect and protect MEMS devices in hermetically sealed structures to withstand extreme weather and radiation conditions encountered in space.
Led by CSEM, the project is developing procedures for sealing and testing MEMS WLP for a piezo-electrically actuated resonator from CSEM and a capacitively actuated resonator from CEA-Leti.
Fraunhofer Institute for Electronic Nano Systems ENAS is applying special measuring and testing processes to guarantee the reliability of these MEMS systems.
VTT, the Technical Research Centre of Finland, will also join the project consortium after ongoing negotiations.
The alliance’s aim is to benefit Europe’s space industry by increasing overall flight-and-exploration reliability through the use of more sensing devices, and reducing costs through smaller payloads.