Companies that design micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) face a number of challenges: The devices incorporate multiple physical effects at the micro scale in environments that are hostile to both mechanical components and electronic circuits.

Semiconductors, for example, must resist heat buildup while withstanding a wide range of structural loads and ambient temperature swings. Mechanical parts such as diaphragms, membranes, beams and other microstructures on the same silicon chip must survive shock and vibration to adequately perform their mechanical functions. At the micro scale, mechanical parts are often actuated by electrostatic or piezoelectric forces; they must overcome thin-film fluid effects that resist the motion of the device.

Because many of these effects are interdependent, predicting the performance of MEMS devices is a complex problem that often defies intuitive approaches used in traditional transducer design.

Engineers rely extensively on multiphysics simulation to study MEMS devices, such as RF switches, sensors and transducers. To determine the piezoelectric response, electrostatic actuation, thermal–electric actuation, and thin film fluid damping effects, companies rely on multiphysics analysis tools from ANSYS for accurate and fast results. Multiphysics simulation is essential in accounting for these coupled effects, which can have a significant impact on MEMS design.

ANSYS Multiphysics capabilities can fit into any MEMS design process.

To determine the stress, deformation and resonance of MEMS devices, such as gyroscopes, accelerometers, and micromirrors, companies rely on ANSYS structural analysis tools to characterize both the static and dynamic behavior of the device.

For designing mircofluidic MEMS devices, such as inkjet printers or biochips, ANSYS offers a comprehensive fluid dynamics solution for modeling both fluid flow and fluid–structure interaction.

To determine the multi-domain system-level response of MEMS, including the associated circuitry, engineers rely on system simulation tools from ANSYS. Reduced-order models can be used for analysis and optimization of electrical, thermal, electromechanical, electromagnetic and fluidic effects.

The ANSYS solution for MEMS also considers many other aspects of the engineering simulation process. High-performance computing capabilities help to reduce simulation time and increase the fidelity of the simulation. ANSYS DesignXplorer software facilitates design optimization. ANSYS Engineering Knowledge Manager technology captures and organizes data, workflows and best practices to increase productivity and improve efficiency.

Finally, companies can reduce their software purchase and maintenance costs by relying on ANSYS as the single supplier for all their engineering simulation needs for MEMS analysis.