Report: RF MEMS set for blockbuster market

Sept. 6, 2002 — The market for radio frequency (RF) MEMS will exceed $1 billion by 2007, according to a report being released this month, as manufacturers of wireless communication devices incorporate the devices into mobile phones, GPS components and computer networking products.

Those high-volume uses combined with demand from the defense and space industries will create a need for 2.8 billion units by 2007, the Munich-based company Wicht Technologie Consulting concluded in its 250-page analysis. WTC, which specializes in microsystems research and marketing, will publish the report this month. It retails for about $4,750.

Jeremie Bouchaud, the report’s author, will present some of his findings Monday at the 2002 International Commercialization of Micro and Nanosystems Conference (COMS) in Ypsilanti, Mich.

RF components are critical in many wireless devices such as cell phones, wireless local area network (WLAN) systems for interconnecting computers and global positioning systems (GPS) for locating and guiding everything from cars to unmanned aerial vehicles. Other potential uses include tire pressure sensor systems and medical implants that relay data to the dashboard or a physician’s monitor via RF MEMS.

Full-scale production of RF MEMS will begin in 2005, Bouchaud said. But to achieve that, RF MEMS manufacturers must lower costs, improve long-term reliability and other performance issues and address packaging concerns. He predicted that RF MEMS will become the industry’s third blockbuster application, following MEMS accelerometers for airbags and disposable blood pressure sensors.

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