11R16. MEMS Handbook. - Edited by M Gad-el-Hak (Dept of Aerospace and Mech Eng, Univ of Notre Dame, Notre Dame IN 46556). CRC Press LLC, Boca Raton FL. 2002. 1368 pp. ISBN 0-8493-0077-0. $149.95

Reviewed by WE Seemann (Dept of Mech and Process Eng, Univ of Kaiserslautern, PO 3049, Kaiserslautern, 67653, Germany).

The MEMS Handbook is a collection of 36 chapters, each subdivided in several sections and covering a special subject or topic, and almost each is written by one or more different authors. As every of the 54 contributors has his own field of knowledge and expertise, this book is a good collection of subjects within the area of micro-electromechanical-systems (MEMS).

The book is divided into four parts. Part I covers the background and fundamentals of MEMS, including flow phenomena, physics of thin films, bubble/drop transport, control theory, and soft computing. The second part deals with the design and fabrication of MEMS. Aspects covered in this part are materials and material properties for MEMS, fabrication of MEMS, the LIGA technique, X-ray-based fabrication up to very advanced techniques like the solid free form technique for MEMS. In Part III applications of MEMS are presented. Inertial sensors, pressure sensors, sensors and actuators for flow control, miniature mechanisms, microrobotics, heat pipes, and micro droplet generators serve as examples for applications and fabrication of MEMS. In most of these chapters on applications of MEMS, the fabrication processes already shown in Part II are revisited once more. The last and smallest part covers future applications and trends towards nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS).

This short overview on the contents of the book shows that it may serve as a reference for many different important aspects in MEMS. On the other hand, all the chapters are written independently like separate articles, and therefore, the book may also serve as a textbook for the reader having already some background in the MEMS area. To get a reference on a special problem, the reader will have to consult the subject index, and normally, there will be more than one chapter to which references are found. This is in accordance with this reviewer’s feeling that different topics are covered more than once in several chapters. A handbook having been written by only one author would have the advantages that the structure of the book could be better, overlapping of the chapters could be avoided, and the sections would not differ both in style as well as depth and length. However, one should keep in mind that it is difficult for a single author to deal with all the topics covered in this book in such a detailed and fundamental form. On the other hand, the book gives the opportunity for many authors to present latest or ongoing work. This is underlined by the large number of standard and very actual references given at the end of each chapter. Some chapters or topics could have been omitted. Examples are the chapters on control theory or neural networks because these topics are not especially related to MEMS, but can be assumed to be known to the reader. In addition, a few chapters do not deal very much with MEMS, for example, the chapter on vacuum pumps.

In this reviewer’s opinion, it can be felt that the editor’s background is in fluid dynamics. Therefore, problems of MEMS occurring in the field of fluid dynamics and its applications are a little bit overemphasized in relation to other topics and applications.

Despite the criticism, this reviewer thinks that the MEMS Handbook is worth much more than the price it costs. Therefore, everyone working in the field of or trying to become acquainted with MEMS should purchase the book. For those new to the field, it is a good introduction into the topic, as all the chapters are written in the style of a textbook. There are several applications and examples of MEMS underlined by many figures of good quality. For those who are almost an expert, the handbook is a very good reference, both for the topic of fluid dynamics at large Knudsen numbers, as well as for design and fabrication of MEMS. Especially, the chapters on MEMS fabrication, LIGA technique, and related chapters serve as a very good basis because they report much data about different etching techniques, composition, and ingredients of sacrificial layers and etchants. There are many examples of topics and fabrication processes, such as chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and low-pressure chemical vapor deposition (LPCVD), deep reactive ion etching (DRIE), isotropic and anisotropic etching, lithography, and molding, to name only a few.