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MEMS Reliability Assessment Program – Progress to Date

J.L. Zunino III and D.R. Skelton

MEMS, reliability, guidlines, failure mechanisms

As the Army transforms into a more lethal, lighter and agile force, the technologies that support these systems must decrease in size while increasing in intelligence. Micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) are one such technology that the Army and DOD will rely on heavily. Current and future military applications of MEMS devices include safety and arming devices, fuzing devices, various guidance systems, sensors/detectors, inertial measurement units, tracking devices, radio frequency devices, wireless RFIDs and network systems, GPS’s, radar systems, mobile base systems, satellites, missiles and the like.
The MEMs devices within these systems will be required to last as long as the lifetime of the weapon systems in which they are embedded which may be decades. MEMS devices are also required to function properly after extended periods of inactivity while in storage. Even though the reliance on MEMS devices has been increasing, there have been limited studies performed to determine their reliability and failure mechanisms. Accordingly, the US Army Corrosion Office at Picatinny, NJ has initiated the MEMS Reliability Assessment Program to address this issue.
The goals of the MEMS Reliability Assessment Program are to 1) Establish the reliability of MEMS devices including the impact of transportation, long term storage, operating environment, packaging & interconnection issues; 2) Analyze the compatibility of MEMs devices with energetic and other hazardous materials found in military items; 3) Identify failure mechanisms and failure rates; 4) Develop accelerated test protocols for assessing the reliability of MEMS; 5) Develop reliability models for these devices; 6) Identify a standardizing body, standard terminology, definitions, and categories for MEMS devices; 7) Determine potential test methodologies for assessing these mechanisms.

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