FREE Webinar hosted by MIG: The convergence of MEMS and Nanotechnology: Enabling future generations of NEMS devices


The convergence of nanotechnology with established MEMS fabrication techniques, along with the adoption of new functional materials, represents a significant opportunity for the advancement of Nano Electro Mechanical Systems or NEMS.

In this presentation we describe how new approaches to plasma processing are enabling these advances. Deep reactive etching (DRIE) of silicon is an established and critical process step in the fabrication of many MEMS devices. However, enhancements to the Bosch process and availability of practical, cryogenic etching techniques are generating unprecedented improvements in process capability including nanoscale etching with superior surface roughness and dimensional control. 

Despite the importance of silicon process technology in today’s MEMS devices, future generations of MEMS and NEMS device will increasingly deploy other materials including polymers, metals and strongly bonded materials such as quartz,  SiC, PZT and AlN etc . Many of these materials require unique process technologies using a plasma sources capable of operating with a high ion density at very low process pressure. We will describe how this can be achieved effectively using an ICP system specifically developed for the purpose.

Finally, these advances in nanoscale etch capabilities are complemented by enabling deposition techniques such as ICP-PECVD, plasma enhanced ALD and the high temperature growth / plasma deposition of 1D and 2D materials. These process capabilities allow the low temperature deposition of high quality, conformal films as well as the opportunity to integrate new classes of functional materials into NEMS devices.

A specific example of this crossover between MEMs and Nanotechnology is the exploitation of the large surface area to volume ratio of graphene and CNTs in NEMS chemical and mass sensing elements. However, the commercial exploitation of these benefits will be reliant on the development of effective integration technologies. These challenges for the industry are summarised and discussed.


Dr David Haynes
Global Field Operations Director,
Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology


Hosted by the MEMS Industry Group