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Fairchild foresees trillion sensors MEMS market

Posted: 11 Nov 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MEMS sensor? inertial MEMS? sensor applications?

Janusz Bryzek, VP of MEMS and sensor solutions at Fairchild Semiconductor, spoke to EE Times about what motivates chip companies to venture into the MEMS market. Bryzek predicts that the volume of MEMS sensors shipped per year will reach a trillion units.

Bryzek is a well-known serial entrepreneur in the field of MEMS having co-founded SenSym, IC Sensors and NovaSensors in the 1980s. He founded Jyve in March 2009 but it has never got out of stealth mode. Jyve was reportedly working on inertial MEMS technology prior to being acquired by Fairchild in November 2010.

Fairchild is not commercially involved in MEMS at present but its employment of Bryzek has led to speculation that the company is about to make a big-splash entry into the market.

Fairchild foresees trillion sensors MEMS market

Figure 1: Bryzek, chairman of the Trillion Sensors Summit.

However, Fairchild has a long history of involvement in the MEMS sector, Bryzek noted. His company, NovaSensor, was financed by Schlumberger, which also owned Fairchild Semiconductor at the time.

Bryzek told EE Times Europe he is unable to discuss in detail Fairchild's re-entry into the MEMS business in 2014 but that the reason for Fairchild's interest in the market is straightforward: MEMS is a market that is growing much faster than conventional semiconductors and a market that is unlikely to stop growing any time soon. "MEMS is growth at around 15 per cent per year, maybe 13 per cent maybe 17 per cent, while the overall semiconductor market is growing at three or four per cent," he said.

This is the same motivation that led Bryzek to call into being and chair the Trillion Sensors Summit. "We wanted to try and foresee what sensor applications are going to push the sensor market from a few billion units per year to a trillion sensors per year within the next 10 years." Bryzek said that with that sort of growth MEMS could become 30 per cent of the total global semiconductor market. That would make it worth in excess of $100 billion per year compared to a value of about $11 billion in 2012.

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