MEMS Standardization


A key to MEMs industry growth (which has been impeded by a general lack of reliable material properties, understanding of processing effects on materials, and process variables) is the emergence of standardized material characterizations.13

It is often stated that there is no standard process in MEMs.13 Because MEMs offer many more degrees of design freedom compared to ICs, and because approximately 90% of available MEMs products are produced in captive fabs, it is possible that there will never be a MEMs "standard process" as in the IC sense. However, the methods of characterizing a process and its associated material properties can and should be standardized for MEMs.13

MEMs Standardization

For fabrication, the MEMs industry must provide comparison and qualification of foundries to enable second sourcing and interchangeability of manufacturing sources. Standardized data allows a fab to set fabrication standards which may be used as rules during the entire design flow. Standardization may also be achieved by adding consistency between measurement techniques.

The MEMs industry must extend process control through the use of Standard Test Methods and Statistical Analysis.13

ASTM Standards

Several groups now publish standards on MEMs. In 2004, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) worked with ASTM International to develop three new standards aimed at helping researchers more accurately measure several characteristics of materials used to construct MEMS devices.14

  • NIST is an agency in technology administration that makes measurements and sets standards as needed by industry or government programs.15
  • ASTM, originally known as the American Society for Testing and Materials, is an international standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services.16
  • MEMs ASTM standards can be found at the following URL:

IEEE Standards

In addition to ASTM, IEEE is also involved in MEMs standards. In June 2004, Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to support each other's programs to create nanotechnology and MEMs standards. The agreement marks the first standards collaboration between the two organizations.17

  • SEMI is the global industry association serving the manufacturing supply chains for the microelectronic, display ,and photovoltaic industries. SEMI member companies are the engine of the future, enabling smarter, faster and more economical products that improve our lives. For standards information, see:
  • IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional association. For standards information, see: