Design Support

X-FAB is currently expanding and strengthening its MEMS design support department. The goal is to provide optimal assistance to help customers introduce MEMS devices into their design. Design support in MEMS technology is generally complicated, since most MEMS products require their own individual processes. X-FAB therefore strives to offer its customers a competent support to enable them to effortlessly match their concepts to the requirements of the X-FAB foundry. This is done by:

  • offering design rules and process specifications for X-FAB standard MEMS processes
  • offering readily designed and fully characterized IP blocks for direct embedding into customer designs as "primitive devices" (see pressure sensors)
  • offering individual support using a comprehensive set of MEMS specific simulation packages.

Three simulation packages are available at X-FAB:

Virtual wafer processing (SEMulator by Coventor Inc.)
SEMulator creates a 3D MEMS structure using the 2D design data and a calibrated process script. The program can considerably simplify the creation of a MEMS layout for a designer who is using an X-FAB foundry process. It creates realistic images of the final MEMS device and allows a process specific design control already before the first mask creation and the first fab run.

Design and optimization of KOH etch masks (SIMODE by amtec GmbH, Chemnitz)
Using the SIMODEprogram, MEMS designers can simulate the anisotropic KOH etching process in accordance with the fab specific etching conditions, thereby reducing the mask costs and number of necessary test runs.

Finite elements simulations (ANSYS Multiphysics by ANSYS Inc.)
This program enables MEMS engineers to study the feasibility and the device functionality of their designs in detail. It can be used for design optimization and to modify standard layouts to create customer specific sensors (see for example pressure sensors), as well as for the development of technology specific test structures.

Comb and mass structures of a MEMS device applying X-FAB's XM-SC process
Stress distribution in a pressure sensor membrane

Additional information

Mask and KOH etch progression to create a mesa-like silicon mass (movie)