This report summarizes recent activities in the development of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) in Japan. For the purposes of this study, "MEMS" means batch-fabricated miniature devices that convert physical parameters to or from electrical signals and that depend on mechanical structures or parameters in important ways for their operation. The report covers advanced materials and process technology; sensors and sensing microstructures; microactuators and actuation mechanisms; sensor-circuit integration and system partitioning; advanced packaging, microassembly, and testing technologies, and MEMS design techniques, applications, and infrastructure. The panel found that Japanese industry is emphasizing approaches to MEMS that are similar to those taken by U.S. industry (i.e., approaches based on silicon integrated-circuit technology); these efforts are comparable in their level of development to those in the United States. However, the ten-year, $250 million, MITI-sponsored program in micromachines emphasizes the miniaturization of more traditional (nonlithographic) machining processes, an area in which there is no comparable U.S. effort. Packaging technology and applications for batch-fabricated MEMS devices is considered a major challenge in both countries. The panel concluded that these and other issues will require global leadership and international cooperation to realize the benefits of MEMS in a timely way.

Copyright 1994 by Loyola College in Maryland. The U.S. government retains a nonexclusive and nontransferable license to exercise all exclusive rights provided by copyright. The ISBN number for this report is 1-883712-35-1. This report is distributed by the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) of the U.S. Department of Commerce as NTIS Report # PB95-100244. Information on ordering from NTIS and a list of JTEC/WTEC reports is available from NTIS.

Published: September 1994; WTEC Hyper-Librarian