German and Danish companies try to change the face of MEMS test
In an effort to facilitate input for future trends, information, and new techniques, SUSS MicroTec and Danish Electronics, Light & Acoustics (DELTA) have launched MEMUNITY, a community, or knowledge forum, designed to provide information on all facets of MEMS test topics to anyone interested in the subject.
"We see MEMUNITY as a way to help and promote the whole subject of MEMS test," Fiona Kemp, marketing communications manager, test systems, SUSS MicroTec told WaferNews. "For such a new branch of the market, we need input for future trends and what needs to be tested. We thought we'd start a user group for people to provide information and then we'd work with them to develop new techniques."
MEMUNITY results from the Eurimus-funded MICROTEST project, which aims to develop special test systems for unpackaged MEMS and bring equipment and device manufacturers together to promote standardization and knowledge-sharing within the MEMS community.
MEMUNITY works on a three-tier system, according to Kemp.
Tier 1: MEMUNITY has a Website and in addition to being a "virtual knowledge center," the site will host seminars and will make available papers and information that is accessible by anyone interested.
Tier 2: Member status is available, which via password allows members to attend all MEMUNITY seminars free of charge and gets members information about equipment, or perhaps access to published papers.
Tier 3: Companies can partner with MEMUNITY and become a "user group member" by providing samples and allowing MEMUNITY to develop test techniques. Kemp stressed that confidentiality is a large component of MEMUNITY, regardless of what tier an individual or company falls under.
With a goal of selling developed test equipment, MEMUNITY hopes to promote itself, and in turn get people interested in MEMS test, according to Frank-Michael Werner, business manager, MEMS Test Systems, SUSS MicroTec.
"By testing at the wafer level, the exorbitant packaging costs will not be wasted on bad die thus bringing the cost of end devices down to an acceptable level," Werner said. "It is our hope that manufacturers will find MEM-.
UNITY a strong partner which can guide them through the first steps to on-wafer testing, thereby making their devices less expensive to manufacture and decreasing time to market. This will help make MEMS devices more feasible to use in everyday consumer products."
MEMUNITY pointed out that the cost of a MEMS device is a prohibiting factor for the widespread use of MEMS in diverse applications. Testing at wafer level, according to MEMUNITY, will not only reduce production costs, it also aids process optimization and speeds up time to date during the design stages.
Currently there are two companies running MEMUNITY, SUSS MicroTec and DELTA, however, built into the structure is the option that more companies can enter and take a stake in MEMUNITY, according to Kemp.
MEMUNITY is currently working in four areas with companies that are partnering with it for development of MEMS test equipment. Its efforts include working toward design wins in the field of pressure sensors and accelerometers, RF MEMS for wireless communication, silicon microphones, and gyros. MEMUNITY is looking for applications in the biomedical field, according to Werner.—R.R.