US, Japan and Europe compete to develop MEMS industry
With the increase in demand for smart terminal products, the MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical System) industry is increasingly showing rapid development. Due to the high market application technology requirements and complex processing technology in this field, its high-end products are basically monopolized by American, Japanese, and European companies. The United States, Japan and Europe are racing to develop the MEMS industry and continue to expand new technologies and new fields.
U.S .: Military MEMS drive civilian adoption
The United States DARPA (National Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) is a planning organization and promotion agency for military MEMS research projects.
The United States is the birthplace of the MEMS industry, technology and products, and its level of development is world-leading. In the 1960s, Stanford and other universities were engaged in research and development in the MEMS field. Many American universities, such as Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of California, Los Angeles, have almost established their own MEMS wafer production lines. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, Case Western Reserve University, etc. also develop equipment and instruments for MEMS research to support their technical research. While researching and exploring, each school also continuously exchanges technology and business with each other, and forms alliances with the industry to promote the timely conversion of MEMS technology into MEMS products.
After the 1990s, the United States began to promote the use of MEMS technology and products in military products. The United States Military Research Agency DARPA (National Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) is a planning organization and promotion agency for military MEMS research projects. For example, in the HI-MEMS plan launched by the US military, MEMS devices are regarded as an important area for insect bionics; in order to support the development of MEMS, the US government has introduced various application regulations to promote the development of MEMS in a timely manner. Adopt tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) and electronic stability controller (ESC) to increase the promotion of MEMS products in automobiles.
After long-term development, it has developed into a relatively complete MEMS industry system integrating government, industry, academia, research, and finance. The size of the wafer used for MEMS product production is currently basically synchronized with the IC, presenting a large-caliber, intelligent, interconnected with human neurons and brain information, and IC chip, computer software, data acquisition and processing technology, etc. Trend of integrated development. At the same time, the application field also continues to penetrate and develop in all directions to the military, medical, biological, bionics, aerospace and other fields.
At present, the major MEMS companies in the United States are Texas Instruments (TI), Analog Devices (ADI), Freescale, Knowles, SiTime, HP, IMT, Silicon Microstructures (SMI), GE Infrastructure Sensing, and so on. Most semiconductor manufacturing companies also have MEMS production and processing businesses.
Judging from the recent introduction of MEMS products by American companies, their technological trends are moving towards biological neural signal extraction, brain neuron information acquisition and control, 3D environmental recognition, molecular-level chemical composition recognition, and simulation of the facial features and limbs of animals and humans. development of.
Of the top 10 MEMS companies in the world in 2011, the United States accounted for 4 of them: Texas Instruments (1st), Hewlett-Packard (2nd), Lou's (8th), and ADI (9th).
In 2011, the total sales of US MEMS companies was approximately 4.129 billion US dollars, accounting for 40.5 %% of the world MEMS market sales.
Japan: Leading automotive, robotic MEMS
Japan has 4 of the top 10 MEMS companies in the world, the number is equal to that of the United States, but its sales are smaller than that of the United States.
The Japanese government has successively launched MEMS-related national projects since 2007 to promote MEMS-related development. In the summer of 2007, the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Academic Policy launched the "formation of cutting-edge fusion innovation and creation base" project, "microsystem fusion research and development," and launched an industry-academia cooperation project. Tohoku University and 11 companies including Ricoh and Toyota Motor jointly launched the industry-academia cooperation project in the summer of 2007. The goal is to make various MEMS technologies reach the practical level as soon as possible through a research group that is at the forefront of the MEMS field and cooperates with companies with specific application objects.
In 2009, under the leadership of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan set up a MEMS research and development institution called JMEC (Japan MEMS Enhancement Consortium), and strived to become an international open industrial-government-cooperative research and development base. JMEC is located in the Tsukuba Nanotechnology Base, a nanotechnology research and development base jointly developed by the Japan Industrial Research Institute, the Material and Materials Institute, and the University of Tsukuba, and has become the operating mother of MEMS-related projects. The Tsukuba Nanotechnology Base is a nanotechnology and MEMS-related research infrastructure established by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology to invest 36.1 billion yen. JMEC mainly targets MEMS. In addition to cutting-edge R & D in the MEMS field, JMEC also considers combining design and trial production services with personnel training. In terms of cutting-edge research and development, we aim at research and development fields that are close to applications that are not covered by public research institutions such as universities and industry-integrated research institutes, and are committed to companies engaging in high-risk research projects alone.
If JMEC is successful in project development, it is possible to go out as a venture company. In terms of designing trial production services, we provide a small number of trial production services that cannot be met by folk MEMS foundries based on the premise of large-scale production.
Promote venture companies to conduct business. Component manufacturers, device and material manufacturers, design tool providers, automotive, robot, motor manufacturers, universities, and public experimental research institutions are involved. JMEC determines the specific operating methods based on the opinions of franchisees.
Major Japanese MEMS companies include Toyota Denso, Panasonic, Omron, Matsushita, Oki, Murata, Epson, Mitsubishi Electric, Sharp, etc.
The latest technological development trends of Japanese MEMS companies are: intelligent vision sensors, fast image retrieval, human-machine interface MEMS devices, and smart car sensing systems. For example: Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan has developed a robot WT-4 that makes sounds through the lungs, tongue, vocal cords and throats, allowing scientists to have a deeper understanding of how the brain controls the speech system. The WT-4 not only uses the machine's lungs and vocal cords, but also adds a flexible tongue, soft palate, lips and teeth. It can read the pronunciation of Japanese letters more clearly, and can mimic human voices.
Of the top 10 MEMS companies in the world in 2011, four were shortlisted in Japan, the same number as the United States, but their sales were smaller than in the United States. They are Canon (5th), Panasonic (6th), Denso (7th), and Epson (10th). In 2011, the sales of the Japanese MEMS industry were approximately US $ 2.0289 billion, accounting for 20.1 %% of the world's MEMS market.
Europe: Biology, Medical, Automobile, Troika, Parallel
The research and development trends mainly include self-generating MEMS devices for automobiles and human self-generating MEMS devices, intelligent artificial limbs and medical MEMS.
According to reports, there are currently about 100 MEMS chip R & D and production institutions in Europe, with more than 7,500 R & D personnel, and world-class MEMS R & D bases and environmental facilities.
The research and development institution IMEC (Interuniversity Microelectronics Center) located in Belgium aims at the development of international open industrial-university-cooperative R & D, and is engaged in the research and development of specialized semiconductor equipment including MEMS equipment.
European governments actively formulate relevant regulations to promote the development of the MEMS industry and technology. European governments require that cars must use electronic stability control (ESC) and tire pressure monitoring systems in 2012. Although automotive safety assessment systems such as the European New Car Assessment System (NCAP) are a voluntary assessment mechanism, they are currently supported by European governments, car clubs and consumer organizations.
European MEMS manufacturers mainly include Bosch, STMicroelectronics, VTI Technology, Sonion MEMS A / S, Measurement Specialties (MSI), Colibrys, Memscap and other companies.
Among them, Bosch is an important manufacturer in the automotive MEMS market. The overall shipment of automotive ESC systems ranks first, and the overall shipments of related automotive MEMS sensors such as accelerometers, gyroscopes and pressure sensors are also the highest. In 2011, Bosch's operating income reached US $ 625 million, an increase of 19% over the US $ 524 million in 2010, and a 14 %% increase in the overall automotive MEMS industry.
European MEMS companies' latest technology research and development trends mainly include automotive self-generating MEMS devices, human self-generating MEMS devices, intelligent prosthetics, and medical MEMS. For example: Germany invented the smallest ultra-micro silicon nanoresonator. This invention can further improve the resolution of imaging of nano-scale microstructures, which is of great significance to the research in medical and other fields. The nanoresonator made by Ilmenau University of Technology is only 16 nanometers wide and can be used as an AFM probe. Atomic force microscope is an analytical instrument that can be used to study the surface structure of solid materials, including insulators. The key component is a micro cantilever that is very sensitive to force. The tip of the cantilever has a tiny probe for scanning the surface of the sample.
Among the top 10 MEMS manufacturers in the world in 2011, Bosch (No. 3) and STMicroelectronics (No. 4) were in Europe. In the global USD 10.2 billion MEMS device market in 2011, European MEMS manufacturers had sales of approximately USD 2.05 billion, accounting for approximately 19.7 %% of the global MEMS market in 2011.
IC observation: China's MEMS need to change the "ink dot" to "plum blossom"
Spring and Autumn
Currently, the United States, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia and other countries are competing to develop the MEMS industry. The gap between China's MEMS industry and the world is not too big, and even some aspects have their own original contributions. In recent years, investment has been rapid, and its development momentum is worth looking forward to.
So, how should China take a path of development with independent characteristics?
Due to the large variety of MEMS products, it is difficult to effectively integrate production processes and standard systems. Although MEMS products can be produced using the same or similar production lines as semiconductors, only a few types of MEMS products can be produced using large-scale foundry methods. Some MEMS products are produced in small batches. This brings certain challenges to the development of the world's MEMS industry, and will also lay out that MEMS production may be another model that is different from both the IC foundry model and the IDM model: that is, the design is still fabless, while manufacturing Small-scale, technology can be diversified.
MEMS has special processes and requirements, which may be the inherent reason for the slower growth of the world's MEMS foundry industry in 2011 than the overall growth of the world's MEMS industry. According to statistics, the global MEMS market size was USD 10.2 billion in 2011, a growth rate of 19 %%, while the revenue of the top 20 micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) foundries increased by only 5 %% compared to 2010. At present, the MEMS foundry business accounts for a small proportion of the global market, less than 6 %%; in addition, the share of MEMS foundry revenue in the global total turnover is decreasing.
China's semiconductor manufacturing plants and design companies are small in scale, dispersed in technology, and relatively backward in production, but this may become a major feature and advantage of the development of the MEMS industry in the future. Because most MEMS products do not have to be manufactured with the most advanced and cutting-edge IC process production lines, as long as the product design concept is advanced, the application target is clear, and the market positioning is clear, the semiconductor production line with several generations behind can still produce a first-class level. MEMS products.
China can take advantage of the recent start of the world's MEMS industry, and proceed from the current status of the industry to catch up and change the "dotted dots into plum blossoms" ingenious and timely transformation and development.
First, continue to take advantage of the low cost of low- and mid-end products, and strive to achieve "take-all" in the low- and mid-end fields; second, gradually develop to the high-end of the industrial chain and continuously increase the proportion of high-value MEMS products; third, appropriate national planning , As far as possible, introduce national standards that can guide the development of the industry and are compatible with world MEMS technology standards; fourth, promote the development of various MEMS industry alliances, cooperative organizations and academic exchanges and cooperation; fifth, synchronize MEMS production equipment R & D and training of senior MEMS product designers.
Editor-in-chief: Electronic Information Industry Network