MEMS seminar by prof. senturia, Thu May 8

Beth Pruitt pruitt at
Sat May 3 15:29:32 PDT 2008

Peanuts vs. Pyramids: Two Perspectives on MEMS
Stephen D. Senturia
Professor of Electrical Engineering, Emeritus, MIT
Chairman and CTO, Polychromix

Mechanics Seminar at Stanford University
Thursday May 8, 2008, 4:15 pm
refreshments at 4 pm
Room 300-300

MEMS, the acronym for Microelectromechanical Systems, also known 
simply as "Microsystems," come in two main types: commodity products 
(the peanuts) and MEMS-enabled products (the pyramids, or, more 
correctly, the inverted pyramids). The economics of scale greatly 
affect how these two classes of products are designed, built, 
manufactured, and sold. The contrast is illustrated with two 
real-world examples: The Knowles SiSonicTM silicon cell-phone 
microphone, and the Polychromix PhazIRTM, a fully portable 
battery-operated hand-held near-infrared spectrometer. At the 
denouement, we will discover that in spite of their apparent 
differences, these two types of MEMS have something very much in 
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