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Current Trends and Future Directions in MEMS

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Demands for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) (also known as microsystems technology, or MST) are continuously growing and it is predicted that they will continue to grow for, at least, a few more decades. For example, MEMS based products produced in 2005 had a value of $8 billion, 40% of which was in sensors. The balance was for products that included micromachined features, such as ink jet print heads, catheters, and RF IC chips with embedded inductors. Growth projections follow a rapidly increasing curve, with the value of products rising to $40 billion in 2015 and $200 billion in 2025! Growth to date has come from a combination of technology displacement, as exemplified by automotive pressure sensors and airbag accelerometers, new products, such as miniaturized guidance systems, and MEMS RF devices. Much of the growth in MEMS business is expected to come from products that are in early stages of development or yet to be invented. Some of these products include disposable chips for performing assays on blood and tissue samples, which are now performed in hospital laboratories, integrated optical switching and processing chips, as well as various RF communication and remote sensing products. In particular, MEMS are found uniquely suitable for detection, analysis, and mitigation of damage as well as for new, very capable, devices that are being developed and will become available in the future. This paper addresses development of representative MEMS of contemporary interest and illustrates their use in applications relating to daily life as well as to some of the most challenging tasks in today’s experimental mechanics.

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The author gratefully acknowledges support by all sponsors and thanks them for their permissions to present the results, of their projects, in this paper. This work was also supported by the NEST Program at WPI-ME/CHSLT.

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Correspondence to R. J. Pryputniewicz.

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SEM William M. Murray Lecture, June 4, 2008, Orlando, FL USA

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Pryputniewicz, R.J. Current Trends and Future Directions in MEMS. Exp Mech 52, 289–303 (2012).

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