MEMS and sensor equipment have widely penetrated into our daily lives. MEMS can be said to be ubiquitous in fields from smart phones to automobiles. And MEMS applications are becoming more and more diverse, and each application scenario has its own special requirements, especially when it comes to sensor applications such as barometers, gases, temperature and humidity. As MEMS and sensor technologies have surpassed automotive applications and entered consumer electronics and mobile devices, packaging and testing foundries (OSAT) are already looking for other more cost-effective packaging solutions for customers to choose, such as OSAT and material suppliers Develop special materials for die attach and mold filling to provide more cost advantages and higher area efficiency solutions. This trend primarily affects inertial devices, but now there are many optical and environmental applications springing up, and we look forward to the progress of products in three aspects: small size, low cost, and high performance.
The original MEMS and sensor IDM are still in a very strong position. However, as many new members enter the market and the concept of product innovation brought by the fabless model, OSAT manufacturers continue to innovate to serve complex customer customization requirements; but at the same time, OSAT is also trying to differentiate between different platforms Keep part of the commonality and try to solve certain common problems in a relatively general way. IDM also encountered challenges, mainly because it is difficult to stay ahead in product innovation and time to market while investing in multiple packaging solutions. Some IDMs are increasingly relying on OSAT partners. MEMS packaging for the automotive and industrial sectors is still completed in-house, and orders for consumer electronics MEMS packaging are handed over to OSAT.
Nowadays, the hype surrounding the Internet of Things is getting louder and louder, and the reality is that in terms of MEMS and sensor packaging, the complex challenges are yet to come. Design engineers have been looking for stronger software, better connectivity, and mature hardware. Hardware has increasingly become the key to a solution, which has stricter requirements for price, packaging, and power consumption. In addition to stringent power consumption and price requirements, wearable devices also require a significant reduction in device thickness. However, the main challenge is not the packaging of the MEMS and the sensor itself; it is that OSAT needs to efficiently provide the most suitable architecture to achieve module and/or SiP integration. Will MEMS and sensor solutions in the future encapsulate die in SiP? Or are MEMS and sensors integrated in one package? Powerful IDM manufacturers have the ability to provide most of the components for their system applications, and they each have their own internal strategies; however, for other manufacturers, MEMS packaging will become critical. With the smart module solutions currently available on the market, substantial reductions in size and power consumption are possible, especially if system, device, and packaging manufacturers can start cooperating in the early stages of product development.
With the overall need for advanced functions of equipment, OSAT's business direction should be diversified packaging solutions, and meet customer needs from the following aspects:
· Performance (electrical and mechanical)
· system integration
· Time to market
With more and more stringent specifications for package sizes, 3D wafer level packaging (3DWLP) using through silicon vias (TSV) is definitely a solution that can intelligently integrate more MEMS and sensors. 3D wafer-level packaging is becoming a “must have” technology for wearable and medical devices; smart devices used in the smart home and industrial markets may rely more on the “classic” platform-but this does not mean that they are No challenge. Because of this, OSAT is trying to provide common key building blocks for intelligent system integration, regardless of the application of the system.
Medical applications will undoubtedly grow significantly in the MEMS industry. Although many applications have been introduced to the market, what we see in reality is only the tip of the iceberg. Not only will professional medical staff further adopt advanced technologies to provide medical and healthcare services, the whole society will increasingly track human health in their daily lives. MEMS will play the most important role in all these applications. Sensors in the biomedical field can be divided into four main types: biosensors, bio-MEMS diagnostics (disposable or portable), MEMS used on skin or swallowable devices (treatment tracking, etc.), and permanently implanted MEMS. The first category (biosensors) is now being widely deployed in many products, especially fitness bracelets, smart watches, and smart phones to track multiple vital signs and activity trends. The picture below is a typical small module integrated in a smart phone that can monitor up to six vital signs. Combined with advanced packaging technology, it is now possible to combine optical sensors, mechanical sensors, MEMS and passive devices with various IC circuits and integrate them into smart phones or wearable devices.
Diagnostic applications will benefit from the development of biosensors, but one of the main obstacles now is microfluidic chips, which are often necessary for such devices and are also the shortcomings.
There are still many difficulties in the way of ingesting equipment or implanting devices in the future. Biocompatibility, self-powering and very high reliability (especially implants) are all key elements. Nowadays, some niche and fragmented equipment are available, but we are still very far away from large-scale deployment.
No matter what platform is adopted for future applications, the future of the MEMS industry is bright. A series of solutions based on MEMS devices will continue to play an important role in consumer equipment, medical equipment and automotive applications. Although the growth of the overall market is difficult to say, it is obvious that the demand for solutions is increasing year by year. Intelligent module and SiP integration is the key, which will enable large-scale deployment of connected devices. To do this, a simplified supply chain and collaboration between the participants in the supply chain are very important.