You can’t build a high-quality sensor if you don’t really know how its going to perform, and you can’t push that performance to the cutting-edge if you don’t deeply understand the physics of what’s going on inside. That’s why IC2 starts every development effort with physics-based, reduced-order modeling of the system. This lumped-element model captures the key physics in a clear manner to gain an intuitive understanding of the factors that affect performance. It is that deep understanding that enables rapid convergence to a sensor design that meets targeted specifications.
We then take it a step further through formal optimization. Once the lumped element model clearly reflects the underlying physics, we plug that model into a formal optimization routine to push the performance as far as possible while still meeting fabrication constraints. The result is a high-performance, fully-buildable sensor design.
Finally, we use finite element modeling / analysis (FEM / FEA) to verify our sensor designs at any stage along the way. With proper usage, FEM can provide very detailed, highly accurate simulation results, thereby adding confidence in the sensor design. By using lumped-element modeling early in the process and saving FEM for verification we can rapidly converge on an optimal solution to meet targeted specifications.
IC2's modeling and simulation services and capabilities include:
Before any MEMS fabrication work can proceed, a detailed process flow is required. The process flow ensures that all steps are compatible and aligned with the desired end product. We begin all process flow development with a high-level overview, selecting a general approach and outlining the major steps and processes. Then we dive deeply into each process step, defining all steps and sub-steps in great detail. At this stage, we also nail down specific recipes and process parameters for particular fabrication equipment. Finally, we produce a formal process traveler that will accompany the wafers through the fabrication process, providing sufficient detail to direct a MEMS Process Engineer or Fabrication Technician through the full processing of your MEMS devices.
We have existing process flows that we can adapt for your needs, or we can start from scratch and develop a fully custom process flow if that is what you need.
Our MEMS process flow design service is designed to be comprehensive and generally includes the following stages:
Once you have a sensor's design geometry nailed down (whether it's your design or ours), we can translate that geometry into a set of photolithographic masks via our mask layout service. In order to fabricate MEMS devices, you will first need that set of photomasks, one for each layer to be patterned. Our comprehensive layout service will provide you with finalized layout files and physical masks in either soda-lime or quartz. We regularly work with major photomask manufacturers and are intimately familiar with all the intricacies of the design and ordering process, ensuring that you get the desired end product. Our photomask design and layout service includes any or all of the following options, depending on your needs: