MEMS (micro electro-mechanical systems) are often expected to take a development as microelectronics did in the last 35 years. Several devices are already established in mass markets like acceleration sensors, gyros, pressure sensors, ink jet heads and the DLP micromirror array. On the other hand many companies have stopped their business after the telecom bubble. Others are struggling. Many dreams based on MEMS-devices that were not at all mature and could not be manufactured in high numbers. When a commercial product is the goal, several questions must be answered already in concept phase. The specifications must clearly reflect the requirements of the application. Performance and price must be competitive to any other technology.
The relation between fabrication process and design is strong and mutual. The process must create all features of the device and the design must consider the limitations of the process. Only if the design is tolerant against all process variations reproducible performance can be achieved. And only if the design is robust in all process steps the devices can survive. Regarding the time and cost frame it is always preferable to change the layout rather than the process. This article looks at MEMS technology and identifies what has been adopted from CMOS, what is desirable to adopt and what needs new solutions. Examples are given in the fields of design, modeling layout, process, test, and packaging.