NORD-pie will form the basis for a qualified piezo-MEMS service including feasibility studies, design and production. The project will demonstrate the availability of small scale and high quality industrial fabrication of piezoelectric MEMS devices in the Nordic countries. NORD-pie aims to provide piezoelectric thin film technology to Nordic industry.
During recent years the study of micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) has shown significant opportunities for miniaturized mechanical devices based on functional thin-film materials and silicon technology. Microsystems, MEMS and MST are a quite mature range of technologies, but few industrial companies have the necessary know-how, financing and/or facilities available.
Many companies – in particular SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) – have come up with innovative ideas for new types of sensors, actuators and other products based on silicon MEMS (MicroElectroMechanical Systems) technology. However, the production of such systems is very demanding. Firstly, it needs substantial investments in clean-room infrastructure and equipment. Secondly, the interdisciplinary nature of these systems requires long experience in modelling, design, materials technology, materials processing and special micromachining in addition to normal microsystem processing technology. Thus, microsystem technology has in practice been unattainable for most companies.
As a remedy the end goal of the NORD-pie project is to provide an open foundry service that allows for prototyping and small scale production of MEMS with piezoelectric thin films. This enables the partners to develop, produce and market new and competitive products. The technology will also be useful for large companies which often prefer to develop their own procedures and build their own production lines, due to the complexity and novelty of the process offered. SINTEF and its NORD-pie partners have demonstrated the capability of the established piezo-MEMS process at SINTEF for device production to relevant companies in the Nordic countries. Feasibility studies of the present technology in relation to the companies present and future products will be carried out also in the near future. Demonstrators may thus be produced upon a set of design rules as defined in the design handbook that have been produced.
We see the need to bridge the gap between process development and a qualified production route- offered to the Nordic and European industry in this area. Hence, the project partners will continue to support Nordic companies in order to respond to the pressure for continuous technological innovation by providing reliable piezoelectric thin film technology the companies are not able to develop themselves. This support will continue through i.e. the European microBuilder project and services.
Project start: September 2007
Project end: December 2008