In 2015, MEMSCAP® will celebrate the 200th run start of its highly popular MEMS standard prototyping service also known as MUMPs® (Multi User MEMS Processes).

Fabricated out of the Research Triangle Park, North Carolina facility for over twenty years, the MUMPs prototyping service quickly thrived as the standard MEMS process for thick metal, SOI or polysilicon surface micromachining. MUMPs has delivered over hundreds of thousands of devices to diverse user groups ranging from the academic, commercial and government sectors worldwide. Results from these devices have provided detailed proof-of-concept data for use in graduate theses, published conference papers and most importantly advanced commercial product development.

The success of the original MUMPs® process (now called PolyMUMPs) drove MEMSCAP®’s decision to expand its offering by rolling out two additional processes in 2002: SOIMUMPs (double-sided etch on bonded SOI-Silicon wafers) and MetalMUMPs (20mm thick nickel electroplating). MEMSCAP® now has the most diverse standard process portfolio in the industry available for its customers.

The unique features of MUMPs® characterised by an easy and cost-effective access to multiple processes enable side-by-side individual designs on the same mask set from multiple customers for fabrication on regularly-scheduled standard process runs. To participate in MUMPs, customers purchase die sites and submit their own designs. For each 1cm x 1cm die site reserved, customers receive 15 chips after fabrication at MEMSCAP®.

Recently, using MUMPs® manufacturing and prototyping services, Dartmouth College researchers have realized a robot so small that 200 of them could fit on the tip of your finger. This tiniest robot of all is 250 by 60 microns (shorter than a human hair and shorter than a full stop at the end of a sentence).

Peter Stokes, Senior Manager, Engineering Operations at CMC (Canadian Microelectronics Corporation) explains:
"The MUMPs process has helped to enable innovative university research and discovery, particularly in the design of complex MEMS structures.  The MEMSCAP tool has helped to create a blueprint for other organizations in the industry to transform their processes into a multi-project wafer environment.  This environment is critical to help make MEMS prototyping affordable to industry and university researchers".

"Dr. Bruce Donald, Joan and Edward Foley Professor of Computer Science, Chemistry, and Biology and head of the Robot Project, states:
"MUMPs provides a unique capability to our laboratory to rapidly prototype micro-electromechanical designs," explains Dr. Bruce Donald. "In general, it is difficult to get access to sophisticated processing facilities that allow prototyping and product development, and MEMSCAP bridges that gap, allowing us to rapidly go from design to fab to working device."

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