MEMS (Micro Electromechanical Systems) are intelligent microsystems that involve suspended and movable parts at the micro/nano scale to accomplish a wide variety of functionalities from sensing (physical/chemical/inertial) to energy harvesting (vibrational/acoustic/electromagnetic) to bio-chemical handling (DNA amplification/cell sorting). Most of us are already accustomed to using a myriad of MEMS devices in our daily lives that include ink-jet print heads, digital light projector and acceleration/rotational/tactile sensors in our automobiles/handhelds.
Robert Bosch GmbH has been a pioneer of MEMS Technology. Arguably much of the progress in MEMS could be attributed to the groundbreaking Bosch Process® that facilitated the creation of 3D microstructures in silicon. By borrowing the planar microfabrication techniques of the mature silicon Integrated Circuits (ICs) for the 3D landscape of MEMS, unforeseen possibilities have risen in the horizon. With these new promises, comes the need for aggressive research and accelerated problem solving.
The MEMS Group at the Robert Bosch – Research and Technology Center (RTC) in Palo Alto focuses on solving key challenges that will lead to the next generation of MEMS devices. Strong collaboration with researchers and labs at The Stanford University and The University of California at Berkeley combined with the innovative spirit of the Silicon Valley have helped the group in deftly tacking several significant research projects. One of the projects handled by the group was recently awarded The Idea of the Year for 2011 in a competition that spanned all of Bosch worldwide.