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Packaging of bio-MEMS: Strategies, technologies, and applications

: Velten, T.; Ruf, H.H.; Barrow, D.; Aspragathos, N.; Lazarou, P.; Jung, E.; Malek, C.K.; Richter, M.; Kruckow, J.; Wackerle, M.


IEEE transactions on advanced packaging 28 (2005), Nr.4, S.533-546
ISSN: 1521-3323
Fraunhofer IBMT ()

Biomicroelectromechanical systems (bio-MEMS) are MEMS which are designed for medical or biological applications. As with other MEMS, bio-MEMS frequently, have to be packaged to provide an interface to the macroscale world of the user. Bio-MEMS can be roughly divided in two groups. Bio-MEMS can be pure technical systems applied in a biological environment or technical systems which integrate biological materials as one functional component of the system. In both cases, the materials which have intimate contact to biological matter have to be biocompatible to avoid unintentional effects on the biological substances, which in case of medical implants, could harm the patient. In the case of biosensors, the use of nonbiocompatible materials could interfere with the biological subcomponents which would affect the sensor's performance. Bio-MEMS containing biological subcomponents require the use of "biocompatible" technologies for assembly and packaging; e.g., high temperatures occurring, for instance, during thermosonic wire bonding and other thermobonding processes would denature the bioaffinity layers on biosensor chips. This means that the use of selected or alternative packaging and assembly methods, or new strategies, is necessary for a wide range of bio-MEMS applications. This paper provides an overview of some of the strategies, technologies, and applications in the field of bio-MEMS packaging. It includes the following: strategies for the partitioning of subsystems within integrated microsystems for (bio)chemical analysis/synthesis; methods for microassembly of bio-MEMS; technologies for bonding of polymer bio-MEMS components; packaging of miniature medical devices; packaging of biosensors for in vitro applications; packaging of micropumps as a bio-MEMS component. The applications discussed are derived from different fields to demonstrate the plethora of bio-MEMS considerations. In commercial production, packaging is possibly the major cost factor of bio-MEMS-based products, and its development requires special attention.