MEMS vs. IC Manufacturing: Is integration between processes possible

Vemal Raja Manikam,  Kar Yoke Ong,  Wai Yew Lo,  Boon Seong Lee,  Cheng Choi Yong
Freescale Semiconductor


Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) remain one of the fastest growing markets in the semiconductor technology industry. This growth is largely due to the increasing possibility of integration into various applications. These include the automotive industry, process control and automation, scientific and medical instrumentation, telecommunication, commodity products and environmental monitoring.

Much of the process technology for MEMS in terms of wafer and package level manufacturing has been sought from the rather established IC (Integrated Circuit) industry. In some cases, the processes and application of materials have been a direct replicate of existing practices.

However, the question remains to what extent can we apply the IC replication process for MEMS while taking into consideration the much more delicate nature of MEMS parts for reliability's sake. There needs to be a thorough analysis on these differences to determine if a new standard of manufacturing is needed. If this point is neglected for the sake of cost saving in manufacturing operations, there is a high possibility the integrity of the MEMS parts will suffer with subsequent downstream processing. This literature work aims to provide a much deeper and in-depth understanding in this area from a packaging point-of-view. We will revisit the various processes and fundamental differences between MEMS and IC packaging.