Since 2003 HT Micro has been developing products with microfabrication technology. Microfabrication processes enabled the development of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). MEMS technology has its roots in the semiconductor industry. The same economies of scale that drive the semiconductor market are driving the development of MEMS switches and connectors resulting in lower cost, superior performance, and increasingly diminutive size.
HT expects that in the very near future most switches and connectors for electronic components will be microfabricated. The ability to parallel process in batch and produce parts with precision and high reliability is driving customers to redesign products and enable new applications.
- Integrated Metal Fabrication
- High Aspect Ratio Manufacturing
- Wafer Level Packaging
The ability to maintain tolerances at small dimensions is at the core of HT’™s products and processes. HT’™s expertise is in developing process technology that allows for high precision of critical dimensions and still maintain a large process window. Milling, drilling, and other machining techniques are being replaced with HT’™s core microfabrication processes ‘“ lithography, thick plating, batch processing, wafer level packaging, and device level testing.
Our continual focus on the aggressive expansion of the available processing materials base and integration capabilities is driving reliability, low cost manufacturing, and reduced product sizes. A metals based technology is especially suited to markets requiring rugged components such as hot switching applications for medical, automotive, and industrial uses. HT specializes in additive processes that create parts by adding material to the base structure ‘“ the wafer. With an integrated packaging approach this support structure is also the packaging structure ‘“ serving a dual purpose during fabrication and in the application.
HT Micro employs high aspect ratio, metal based processes, to fabricate MEMS switches and components that are made of metal. These processes enable production of complex three dimensional mechanisms while maintaining tolerances in the sub-millimeter range. The technology’™s advantage comes from the ability to perform wafer level processing within a very broad range of materials. The technology for wafer level processing is well known in the IC industry; however, precision mechanical fabrication in a wide variety of metals is not. HT Micro has advanced processes that enable miniaturization of magnetic and mechanical switch components without sacrificing performance. HARM allows for designs with an out of the plane feature height considerably greater than the width of the feature. This aspect ratio creates more area for flexures employed in mechanical designs. Reliability is the benefit of the high aspect ratio fabrication.
HT’™s processes enable product designs with the unique value-added benefit of directly packaging on the wafer. The self packaging methodology lends itself directly to hermetically sealed components which are rugged enough for many military and industrial applications. The components have the ability to withstand extreme temperature variations, vibration, and g-forces.
Batch microfabrication supports wafer level packaging, avoiding expensive and time consuming back end of line assembly and testing. The costs of microfabricating a device is highly dependent on device footprint and final packaging. Packaging and testing at the wafer level reduces production costs by 60% over other commercial MEMS switches.