1 November, 2011

Silex Microsystems and A.M. Fitzgerald & Associates Reduce MEMS Development Time by 50%

Multi-Year Collaboration Enables Fast Commercialization of MEMS

Designs Through the Silex Sil-Via® Platform

JÄRFÄLLA, Sweden and BURLINGAME, Calif., November 2, 2011 — Silex Microsystems, the world’s largest pure-play MEMS foundry, and A.M. Fitzgerald & Associates (“AMFitzgerald”), a MEMS product development firm, today announced they have successfully reduced the traditional development time of MEMS devices for medical and biotech applications by six months.  These results are based on a multi-year collaboration that combined Silex’s decades of MEMS engineering experience and the Silex Sil-Via platform with AMFitzgerald’s advanced MEMS prototyping and design capabilities.

To achieve their development milestones, Silex provided AMFitzgerald with access to its leading Sil-Via technology platform early in the development process.  The Silex Sil-Via platform has a proven history of volume production and utilizes the latest TSV (through silicon vias) packaging technology, which enables smaller form factors, lowers cost and allows customers to add increased functionality to their MEMS devices.  This grounds-up approach and close collaboration resulted in the rapid completion of several MEMS designs that are now ready to go into volume production in Silex’s advanced 6-inch and 8-inch fabrication facilities.  According to both companies, these types of MEMS projects typically take one year or longer to complete, versus the six months that was achieved by Silex and AMFitzgerald.

“Through our well-established partnership with AMFitzgerald, we can enable the rapid development and commercialization of MEMS products, which are quickly finding high-volume applications in many markets,” said Peter Himes, Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Alliances for Silex Microsystems.  “This announcement furthers our goal of developing a partner ecosystem that can accelerate customers’ time to market, and also validates the strength of our Sil-Via technology platform as a basis for high-volume, low cost, small form factor, and low risk MEMS designs.”


“Silex’s willingness to make proven, standardized process modules accessible to developers like ourselves is exactly what is needed in the industry to reduce time-to-market and to drive the high-volume commercialization of new MEMS technologies,” said Dr. Alissa M. Fitzgerald, founder and managing member of AMFitzgerald.  “Our unique approach of integrating Silex’s standard TSV and wafer level packaging technologies in the very first prototypes means that risks and uncertainties are identified and addressed early, instead of being revealed during foundry transfer and ramp-up. Our ability to do design-for-manufacture not only delivers significant time and cost advantages early on, but also enables us to make adjustments very quickly to meet the customers’ needs and requirements throughout the design process.”

The Rapidly Expanding Bio-MEMS Market

Customers who integrate the packaging solution at the prototype stage will be able to move faster and with more confidence into volume production.  This is a critical process in the bio-technology and medical markets that are expected to increasingly utilize MEMS devices.  According to the April 2011 Yole Development MEMS report, this market is expected to grow 24% annually, from $1.75B in 2011 to over $5B in 2016.


Applications that can benefit significantly from the Silex/AMFitzgerald partnership include any array-based sensor such as imaging or diagnostic arrays that require high-density IO and small form factors, applications where the Sil-Via TSV provides the most benefit.  In addition to BioMEMS, other applications such as motion sensors, optical sensors, oscillators and pressure sensors can also benefit.

About the Silex Sil-Via Platform – the MEMS Development Platform

Silex has spent over ten years developing an advanced MEMS platform that leverages the company’s deep engineering expertise and insights gained from working with many customers on more than 300 successful MEMS projects and 50 BioMEMS programs. This platform, known as Silex Sil-Via, is a proprietary technology for TSV interconnects, which is a key technology for high-density IO that enables smaller form factors and increased functionality in MEMS devices.  The Silex Sil-Via platform is a full-wafer thickness via comprised of a DRIE etched post surrounded by an isolating material. The resulting interconnect is low impedance, mechanically robust, and avoids the thermal mismatch of metal-based via technologies. The Silex Sil-Via platform can be implemented as an integral part of MEMS processing or used at the wafer-level packaging level. The Silex Sil-Via platform went into production in 2006 for mobile applications and it has been in continual high-volume production for more than five years. Silex Silex Sil-Via has been used successfully on over 100 products, and is now available through AMFitzgerald.

About Silex Microsystems

Silex Microsystems is the world’s largest pure-play MEMS foundry. We service the advanced MEMS and heterogeneous packaging needs of the world’s leading companies. With production operations totaling 25,000 square feet with dedicated lines for both 6″ and 8″ wafers, Silex has successfully completed over 300 MEMS programs with over 100 corporate customers, including 12 of the world’s top 30 MEMS companies. Silex Sil-Via has provided advanced TSV solutions in production for over 5 years. Silex’s core technologies enable some of the world’s brightest innovations. For more information, please visit www.silexmicrosystems.com.

About A.M. Fitzgerald & Associates

AMFitzgerald, located near Silicon Valley in Burlingame, CA, USA, offers customers the complete solution for MEMS product development. Full-service engineering capabilities include: custom device design, MEMS prototyping and process development, multi-physics finite element modeling, foundry transfer, production support, and technology strategy consulting. AMFitzgerald’s team of experienced MEMS engineers provides the essential pre-foundry work to minimize the risk, cost and time of new MEMS development. AMFitzgerald is a member of MEMS Industry Group.

Silex Microsystems Public Relations:         

Kelly Karr

Tanis Communications

+1 (408) 718-9350


AMFitzgerald Public Relations:

Catherine Guittard

+1 (650) 347 6367 x105


Silex, Silex Microsystems, Sil-Via and related logos are registered trademarks of Silex Microsystems. All other product or service names are the property of their respective owners. Copyright Silex Microsystems, 2011.