German Association for Electrical, Electronic and Information Technologies (VDE) has published current market figures which demonstrate that microelectronics is becoming increasingly more important: In 2007, worldwide sales of miniature electronic components and systems rose by 3.2% to $255.6 billion. Due to the strong demand for discreet components, opto-semiconductors and sensors, the industry is actually expecting an increase of around 7% for a total worldwide market volume of $275 billion in 2008.
A large number of international electronics pioneers will present their developments in microsystems and micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) at electronica 2008. Texas Instruments has, for example, developed and miniaturized its micromirror arrays for beamers and video projectors to such an extent that DLP (digital light processing) pico-projector technology can now also be used for displays in mobile phones, digital cameras or portable media players. The Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems, another exhibitor at electronica 2008, will talk about “small” new developments for mobile use: its miniaturized projection displays are based on lasers as a light source and two-dimensional microscanner mirrors for light deflection, and are therefore small enough to be integrated in mobile phones.
One of the key players in the MEMS sector is STMicroelectronics. The company will present its innovative acceleration sensors at electronica 2008. These miniature products protect portable infotainment devices or mobile medical monitoring systems against damage by registering, for instance, that the device has been dropped. The system is therefore able to lock the hard disk in split seconds and save the data stored on this hard disk.
Since it has been involved in this field since 1991, Omron Electronic Components is regarded as one of the pioneers of MEMS. The company’s product range includes MEMS-controlled blood pressure sensors with the so-called “donut” design. Whereas conventional sensors can only use 10% of their area to record pressure, the corresponding figure for MEMS sensors is 50%. Omron also produces MEMS sensors which can register an air current from 1 mm per second and radio frequency (RF) MEMS which attain a switching frequency that is 10 times higher than conventional semiconductor-based switches.
The Kyocera Corporation from Japan is not only a technology leader in the prime MEMS discipline of print heads. The Group only recently presented a possibly record-breaking, high-speed ink-jet print head. The Kyocera Fineceramics Division (Germany) will attend electronica 2008 as a specialist for microelectronic components and small-format ceramic housings for sensors and MEMS.
Microdriven, silicon-based sensors, microoptics and bioMEMS devices are the main fields of activity of the electronica exhibitor Leister Process Technologies. The company’s latest gas sensors are based on laser diodes and are used, for instance, for permanent monitoring of gases in medicine, e.g. for monitoring of blood gas values in patients.
Tronics Microsystems has made a name for itself as a manufacturer and integrator of customer-specific MEMS components. The company’s sensors are used, for example, as seismophones to localize oil reserves. Its bioMEMS can be used, for instance to analyze cell properties.
Last but not least, mention should be made of Epcos. The world market leader in the field of high-frequency filters (radio frequency filters, RF filters for short) believes that there is great future potential in MEMS technology, a fact which was recently demonstrated when the company took over the RF MEMS activities of NXP. In future RF MEMS will help to reduce the power consumption of mobile radio devices by up to 25% and increase the stability of radio links. According to industry insiders, MEMS has a potential market volume amounting to several hundreds of millions of Euros.
During the discussion forum forming part of the 'electronica micronano-systems' focus area, experts will present the latest developments and technologies in lectures and podium discussions. In 2006 around 8,000 visitors specifically attended the 'electronica micronano-systems' exhibition and followed the practical talks by exhibitors during the forum.