Genealogy Chart for USA

(Click graphic to open chart in pdf)

Art Zias (1937-2009) -- Early MEMS Pioneer
    It is with heavy hearts we report the passing of Arthur R. Zias in the 2nd week of May 2009 in Mountain View, CA near his home in Los Altos. He will be dearly remembered by colleagues, friends, and family. A memorial and tribute blog can be found for him here.

Comments on the edited version, (Gupta, April 2003):

    The original chart was designed for solid-state sensors, primarily crystal-silicon bulk micromachined pressure sensors. A few items which reflect the development of microactuators, such as Texas Instrument's Digital Light Projection (TM), have been added.

    A future update will include the development of accelerometers and printer inkjets. Accelerometers evolved over the 1980's and into the following decades, involving companies such as Analog Devices, Motorola, and Bosch in Germany. Inkjet heads for printers have charted an even more explosive growth.

    "MEMS" is an evolution of basic sensor and actuator technology, and today encompasses most aspects of micromachining based on photolithography for materials extending beyond simply crystal silicon and polysilicon micromachining. The work which has been done in the last decade in areas outside of traditional silicon-based MEMS is enormous. This chart is neither current, nor exhaustive, and any suggestions for additions are welcome. Comments can be sent through our on-line comment form.

Notes from the original print by NovaSensor, circa 1990:

    The overwhelming progress in microelectronics during the last two decades has significantly affected the lifestyle of our generation. This progress was primarily noticeable in information processing power. It also created a gradually increasing need for sensing real world information including such mechanical variables as temperature, pressure, acceleration and force. Solid-state sensor technology was found to be capable of providing the technical solutions at the required price in production volumes.

    This Genealogy Chart provides a brief history of the leading micromachining and solid-state sensor companies which brought the technology to its present status. It acknowledges our intellectual debt to the accumulated experience of the many researchers and technologists who have laid the groundwork which made silicon micromechanics possible. We deem the pioneering work of Bell Laboratories, Kulite Semiconductor, Honeywell, Fairchild, IBM, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and the University of Michigan of particular importance.

    The founders of NovaSensor believe that the efforts outlined in the Genealogy chart has produced a critical mass of technology and customer interest sufficient to make the next ten years "The Decade of Micromachined Sensors". NovaSensor was created in late 1985 as the first company in the world with the objective of bringing the state-of-the-art in silicon micromechanics to volume applications. Our key personnel came from two distinctively areas; we have merged the best academic micromachinists and the best industrial technologists into one efficient, result-oriented team. This combination allows our customers to inspire NovaSensor to product innovation resulting in year 2000 technology today.

Additional references: