Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) is a rapidly growing interdisciplinary field dealing with the design and manufacturing of miniaturized micromachines using mainly semiconductor technology. Recent demands have led to the integration of electrical, mechanical, optical, fluidic, thermal, and biological microdevices into versatile microsystems capable of performing complex sensing, control, and computing functions. While significant opportunities exist for MEMS, early indications suggest that a large number of challenging issues are presently preventing the evolution of MEMS from the laboratory to the application world. The objective of this article is to consider some of the important surface science issues in MEMS and the nature of microscopic processes occurring at micromachine interfaces during fabrication and operation.

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