MEMS Technology: Where To?

Published - Dec 2002| Analyst - Ralph Hensler| Code - SMC051A
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Report Highlights

  • By 2007, market revenues will approach $26.4 billion, at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 19.1%.
  • Transportation and consumer products currently are two of the largest market sectors, representing respectively, some 31% and 36% of current revenues.
  • By 2005, lab-on-a-chip products and services should finally enter the market place in large quantities.
  • MEMS sales in both fiber-optics equipment and wireless systems, including next generation cell phones, will be the major market drivers in the telecom industry.
  • However, there still are impediments to growth in almost every sector.



Micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and micro-systems (MST) together represent one of the fastest-growing technology areas. The economic leverage offered by these micro-devices enhances their importance far beyond their own market size.

This BCC report presents a detailed analysis of the current and future, worldwide and domestic markets for MEMS and MEMS-related products as defined by six market segments and in terms of individual product sales. This report contains market forecasts and sales projections through the year 2007. Major market players, market driving forces, R&D trends and commercialization efforts, as well as patents, are included.


This study is an update of a previous BCC report on MEMS that was published in August 1998 titled MEMS/Micromachines/Microsystems: Technologies and Commercial Realities (GB-218). Since then there has been extraordinary growth in both the number of products shipped and the number of new types of applications for the technology. These new markets include such rapid growth industries as DNA analysis, wireless communications, and fiber optic communications.

Until around 1996, growth of the micro-device market was primarily driven by the replacement of conventional larger and more expensive products, including accelerometers, pressure sensors, in addition to some high volume medical products. The profusion of MEMS research at universities has led to the creation of a worldwide labor pool of trained engineers and scientists who have gone on to work in industry and government laboratories. The subsequent explosion in MEMS-related research expenditures has led to the creation of a new industry containing such infrastructure components as companies specializing in providing design software, design services, specialty fabrication equipment, and fabrication facilities. These developments have shortened the time to bring new products to market. Fortunately, MEMS arrived just in time to offer solutions to such important problems as DNA sequencing, the rising costs of healthcare, and the rapid expansion of the telecommunications industry, all of which are among the largest growth sectors of the worldwide economy. Diffusion of MEMS technology into a myriad of smaller size market applications enhances this trend even further, and as production costs for MEMS devices fall, the growth trend should accelerate well into the twenty-first century.


The micro-device industry is a diffuse and very rapidly growing international industry containing large corporations as well as hundreds of startup companies. Activities within this industry include basic research, product design, and manufacturing activities.

This report is therefore directed toward decision makers in the MEMS industry as well as those in significant application areas. The comprised audience is as follows:


  • Equipment suppliers
  • MEMS hardware, software and fabrication equipment providers
  • Foundry service suppliers
  • Equipment manufacturers
  • Technical managers
  • Marketplace managers
  • Merger, acquisition, and investment executives.



This report is intended to be an analytical tool whose primary purpose is to cover the micromachine device industry in terms of its applications and end use markets. A summary follows this introductory section, along with a historical overview of the industry and the market structure. Key market industrial players are reviewed along with research universities and patents. The following segments contain descriptions of the technology, research activities, product descriptions and analyses of MEMS/MST products along with the current and future markets for these products.

The appendices include lists of conferences, recent patents, universities, and, of course, references.


The material presented is based on information gathered from contacts with participants within the MEMS industry in conjunction with a thorough review of the technology gathered from technical papers and industry conferences. Final analyses and projections are based on a combination of factors, but are primarily based on a consensus of opinion among the primary contacts and an interpretation of market trends from a historical perspective.


Additional data was obtained from extensive reviews of secondary sources such as trade publications, trade associations, company literature, and on-line databases. All dollar projections presented in this report are in 2002 constant dollars.


Ralph Hensler has nearly thirty years of research and management experience in the areas of energy, fluid dynamics and sensor technology including MEMS. He is a former R&D director for a major automotive sensor supplier and has sponsored MEMS related research programs with the New Jersey Institute of Technology. His prior experience includes managing several research programs for the Department of Energy and the Defense Department including work on the design of the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor at Princeton University. Mr. Hensler has also conducted several technical/marketing studies on behalf of industrial clients. He holds a B.A. and a Ph.D. in physics from Rutgers University.

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