MEMS packaging and test project aims for space

November 8, 2011 — The Heterogeneous Technology Alliance (HTA), a team of leading European technology institutes, is developing new packaging and test methods for micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS) targeting space missions.

As part of the Wafer-Level Encapsulation in Microsystems (WALES) project, HTA members are studying how wafer-level packaging (WLP) can be used to connect and protect MEMS devices in hermetically sealed structures to withstand extreme weather and radiation conditions encountered in space. The project also will provide the European Space Agency (ESA), which is funding the project, a simple and fast standardized test to evaluate the suitability of MEMS for space missions.

XRD systems at CSEM.

Also read: NASA technologist talks CNTs, nanowires, PCMs…

Led by CSEM, the project is developing procedures for sealing and testing MEMS WLP for a piezo-electrically actuated resonator from CSEM and a capacitively actuated resonator from CEA-Leti. Fraunhofer Institute for Electronic Nano Systems ENAS is applying special measuring and testing processes to guarantee the reliability of these MEMS systems. VTT, the Technical Research Centre of Finland, will join the project consortium; negotiations are currently under way.

Focused ion beam (FIB) tool at Fraunhofer.

Increased reliability via improved packaging could extend MEMS lifetimes and make them suitable for harsh environments like space missions. MEMS could increase the sensing devices on European space projects while decreasing form factor and costs.
 
The HTA was launched in 2006, bringing together microsystems institutes in an alliance of ideas and joint-development projects with industry partners. Members: CEA-Leti, CEA-Liten, CSEM, Fraunhofer Group for Microelectronics and VTT. Visit www.hta-online.eu for more information.

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