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Realizing Complex Microsystems: A Deterministic Parallel Assembly Approach

J. Randall, G. Hughes, A. Geisberger, K. Tsui, R. Saini, M. Ellis and G. Skidmore
Zyvex Corporation, US

Keywords: MEMS, microassembly, parallel assembly, microsystems

The push towards miniaturization has created substantial interest in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). To date, most of the developments regarding MEMS technology have relied on monolithic fabrication and integration. The monolithic approach has successfully produced various miniature technologies; however, most of these miniature technologies are essentially discrete devices or, at best, simple systems such as pressure sensors and accelerometers. Truly complex systems, by definition, are a combination of independent but interrelated elements that, in totality, function as a unified entity. Computer-controlled, parallel assembly of micromachined components promises to drive the miniaturization wave by enabling the manufacture of unprecedented complex microsystems. Described in this paper is an approach to parallel assembly of microsystems that uses silicon MEMS components, such as grippers and connectors, integrated with high precision robotic systems. Due to the versatility of the deterministic parallel assembly approach described herein, numerous applications of microsystems are realized including fiber optic components, high frequency devices, portable chemical and biological detection systems, and miniature high performance laboratory and industrial instrumentation. In this paper, we discuss the complex microsystems currently being developed using this state-of-the-art assembly process. We also discuss the use of standard micro/nano positioning equipment to achieve automated assembly of these microsystems.

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