Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Components of an improved design process for micro-electro-mechanical systems
by Lamers, Kristina Lee, Ph.D., Stanford University, 2009, 278; 3343948
Abstract (Summary)

During their first fifty years, MEMS have been marked by long development cycles and tremendous potential mixed with sporadic market success. Development times have been declining, but not fast enough for investors and business managers, given the high risk of product failure. To improve the prospects of commercial success, product development times must be reduced quickly, and companies must do a better job assessing market needs and determining which markets fit the technology they possess or are capable of developing. Technology developed with a target application's requirements in mind will more likely meet with success in the marketplace.

This dissertation focuses on using simple design methods to increase development speed and improve the fit of technology to the market. Development paths of two historical MEMS products, Texas Instruments Digital Micromirror Device and Avago Technologies Film Bulk Acoustic Resonator (FBAR), illustrate the challenges. Application of existing and new design methods, such as Quality Function Deployment and Concept Screening, to MEMS programs is demonstrated through case studies ranging from a heat exchanger and acoustic sensor to a scent dispenser. These case studies exhibit faster product development, increased likelihood of working prototypes, and a simple way to evaluate the fit between technology and potential markets. Successful new product development ideally feeds multiple generations of great products. To aid MEMS products in achieving continued market success, the FBAR case study describes a method for improving incremental MEMS design through mathematically defining critical metrics and translating them across an organization.

In summary, this thesis demonstrated improved product development through application of structured design methods to MEMS case studies over the entire S-curve, from early design through evolutionary development of mature products. Opportunities for extending this work include adding in process complexity and technology readiness to the evaluation of design concepts. Additional work could provide a method to determine which types of devices are best suited to chip level integration. Extending the application of design methods described in this thesis to other MEMS projects would provide added validation for the results shown here.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Pruitt, Beth
School: Stanford University
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 70/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Electrical engineering, Mechanical engineering
Keywords: Chip-level integration, MEMS, Product development
Publication Number: 3343948
ISBN: 978-0-549-99330-8
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