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Making Piezoelectric MEMS A Reality For More

Two MEMS companies team to develop an integrated production process to speed the development of piezoelectric sensors and actuators.

Spencer Chin

January 16, 2024

2 Min Read
AMFitzgerald teams with MEMS Infinity
MEMS development company AMFitzgerald has teamed with MEMS Infinity to create an integrated design to production process for piezoelectric MEMS products. AMFitzgerald

While piezoelectric microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology is finding its way into more products, creating a reliable supply chain for manufacturing has been a challenge, particularly for startup companies. Two companies long active in this market, AMFitzgerald, a microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) product development company, and MEMS Infinity, have announced a strategic and technical alliance to expedite the commercialization of thinfilm PZT MEMS chip technologies.

Thin-film PZT is a piezoelectric material that is well-suited for MEMS sensors or actuators serving high-growth applications such as wireless stereo, automotive LiDAR, medical ultrasound imaging, AR/VR, haptics and other applications requiring precise performance in a robust, ultra-miniaturized form factor. But according to Dr. Alissa M. Fitzgerald, founder and CEO of AMFitzgerald, PZT requires specific process tools and expertise that are not widespread.

In a recent interview with Design News, Fitzgerald explained that companies trying to develop PZT MEMS technologies often have difficulty obtaining quality material during development stages, while wafer volumes are low. She added that the uneven quality control of research-grade materials during prototyping can slow down product development.

Fitzgerald hopes to solve that issue with its alliance with MEMS Infinity, a longtime customer and materials supplier that has a production MEMS foundry. By leveraging its own expertise in MEMS development with MEMS Infinity’s aerospace-grade prototyping and manufacturing capability, she expects to provide customers with a seamless design-to-production experience for customers. “We want to give customers access to foundry-specific MEMS design, lower access barriers, decrease risk, shrink development cost, and speed time-to-market. These customers normally cannot gain access to large commercial foundries because their production volumes are not high enough.”

MEMS Infinity is a development and foundry services company that was borne out of Sumitomo Precision Products Co., Ltd.., a company involved in MEMS manufacturing for years. Masahiko Tanaka, Managing Executive Officer of MEMS Infinity and Sumitomo Precision Products, said during the conference call that materials such as thin-film PZT are coming into greater demand as interest in piezoelectric MEMS for products such as sensors grows.

“The performance of thin-film PZT is improving, with better uniformity,” said Masahiko Tanaka, managing executive officer, Sumitomo Precision Products. He cited the material’s attributes as performance, efficiency, environmental robustness and high reliability, with potential applications in products such as ultrasound transceivers, micro-speakers, micro-mirrors, RF switches and microfluidics, as well as emerging technology devices.

According to AMFitzgerald’s Alissa Fitzgerald, products developed and manufactured through the alliance should be available over the next year.

About the Author(s)

Spencer Chin

Senior Editor, Design News

Spencer Chin is a Senior Editor with Design News, covering the electronics beat.

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