MEMS technology refers to the fabrication and use of miniaturized mechanical and electromechanical devices, the size of which ranges from one micron to several millimeters. In MEMS devices, microsensors and microactuators are the most important elements as they’re in charge of converting energy from one form to another.
The MEMS technology allows microsensors to have better performance when compared to sensors that were made using macroscale techniques. An additional benefit of the MEMS technology is that the process of fabricating microsensors by using integrated circuit-industry techniques results in lower production costs. As of 2015, the development community behind the MEMS technology has managed to demonstrate the use of microactuators as valves that can control the flow of gas and liquids, mirrors and optical switches that are capable of redirecting beams of light, and micropumps that create positive fluid pressure.
The MEMS technology is applied in biotechnology, medicine, communications and internal sensing. In the field of biotechnology, MEMS allows researchers to create biochips that can detect dangerous chemicals and biological agents, and microsystems that amplify and identify DNA. In medicine, MEMS yielded pressure sensors that doctors use to measure blood pressure in intravenous lines and respiration, and to control the level of vacuuming fluid from a patient’s eye during eye surgery. For internal sensing, researchers apply the MEMS technology through accelerometers that measure parameters during crash airbag deployment in cars.