Introduction to Micro-Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS)

Tuesday, Sep 16, 2008 - 7:00 pm


MEMS (Micro-Electro Mechanical Systems), sometimes called Microsystems Technology (MST), encompasses the manufacturing technologies that enable the fabrication of micro-scale sensors and actuators on silicon and glass wafers.

While MEMS grew out of the semiconductor industry and uses many of the same tools, that is where the similarity ends. MEMS is a highly fragmented, non-standardized industry that more closely resembles the custom machine-shop world, albeit at much smaller dimensions.

Hundreds of innovative and exciting devices have been developed which are finding application across all industries. MEMS devices are in your car, your cell phone, in biotech laboratories, at the doctor’s office, and even in the “Waving Torches” used in the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony.

This talk will provide an introduction to MEMS, an overview of how MEMS products are made, and a review of current and future applications of this exciting technology.


About the speaker, Dr. Alissa M. Fitzgerald, A. M. Fitzgerald & Associates

Dr. Alissa M. Fitzgerald is the founder and Managing Member of A.M. Fitzgerald & Associates, LLC, a firm specializing in early stage MEMS product development, prototyping, analysis, and technical consulting. She has over 13 years of hands-on experience in MEMS design and fabrication.

Alissa has developed over a dozen distinct MEMS devices such as piezoresistive cantilevers, ultrasound transducers, and microcalorimeters for applications ranging from implantable medical devices to spacecraft sensors. She is an expert on the reliability of brittle materials and finite element analysis for MEMS devices, and continues to conduct research in those areas.

Dr. Fitzgerald has worked at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Orbital Sciences Corporation, Sigpro and Sensant Corporation (acquired by Siemens). She received her bachelors and masters degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her doctorate from Stanford University, all in the discipline of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Alissa has numerous journal publications, holds two patents, and is a frequent lecturer at Stanford University and local professional group meetings. Dr. Fitzgerald is the Director of the Semiconductor Entrepreneurship Program of the MIT Club of Northern California.


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